Mesa, Arizona, boasts not only a bustling city life but also some scenic trails that will captivate any mountain biking enthusiast. Nestled within this city's confines is the renowned Hawes Trail, an intermediate loop route spanning 12 miles of classic Sonoran desert landscapes. The trail promises both a physical challenge and an aesthetic treat with its panoramic views of Phoenix, the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, and the Salt River.
Highlights of the Hawes Trail Experience
- Spectacular Overlooks: At various points on the trail, riders are presented with sweeping views of the vast Phoenix city to the west and the imposing McDowell Mountains to the east. To the north lies the mesmerizing sight of Red Mountain and the glistening Salt River.
- Trail Terrain: A significant portion of the Hawes Trail descends downhill on loose, crumbling granite. It's a thrilling ride, but it necessitates well-conditioned brake pads. Those yearning for a more challenging experience can tackle Hawes in reverse, though mastering this demands robust physical prowess.
- Duration: Typically, an intermediate to skilled rider might take between 1 to 1.5 hours to complete the trail loop. It's essential to be well-prepared with adequate water and an extra tube – the rough desert terrain can quickly lead to flats.
- Exploring the Network: The Hawes Trail is part of an extensive system of trails. Many riders have found joy in exploring various routes, alternating between fast, rolling parts, challenging climbs, tight corners, and occasional technical spots.
Accessing the Hawes Trail
Getting to the trail is straightforward:
- Head east on the US 60 until reaching Power Rd.
- Drive north on Power Rd until McDowell Rd.
- Park at the Albertson's shopping center located at the southeast corner of Power and McDowell.
- Ride east on McDowell Rd for approximately 2 miles, then turn left onto Hawes Rd.
- Another 1.3 miles will lead to the trailhead, marking the beginning of the Hawes adventure.
Tip: Another popular parking spot among riders is behind the Walgreens. From there, simply cross Power Rd on Eagle Crest Dr, and the trailhead will be visible on the left after crossing a bridge.
What Riders Are Saying
- "Flowy and fun. While short, the ride is immensely enjoyable and offers both technical challenges and exhilarating descents."
- "The trail becomes significantly more technical the further one ventures, especially around the Tower Trail and Hawes Loop Trail."
- "An excellent location for group rides. The trails are more XC-oriented than South Mountain, making it ideal for both novices and experts."
- "A gem in Phoenix. Despite recent rains making parts of the trail sandy, it remains a top pick for many."
Trail Map: For newcomers to the trail system, this map offers a detailed overview.
The Hawes Trail in Mesa, Arizona, is more than just a biking route – it's an experience. Whether it's the heart-pumping climbs, rapid descents, or the breathtaking desert views, Hawes promises an adventure that riders will cherish and yearn to revisit.