The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve North/South Loop is a mostly easy trail that should be thoroughly enjoyable for most, including novice riders. There is an optional intermediate-level section but other than that, you have only the distance to worry about. There are also washrooms in different places on the reserve. However, you might need to take long detours to reach them depending on how much of the trail you plan to go through.
The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve North/South Loop trail is a looped trail that starts and ends at the Apache Wash trailhead. We noticed that there’s practically no shade along the trail, so it might not be a good idea to tackle it at midday in the summer. Also, given it’s a desert preserve carrying enough water, a repair kit may be essential if you want to ensure you complete the trail.
At the beginning of the trail, the route will take you back onto Dove Valley Rd, where you will cross and head west. After about a few hundred feet, you take the Sonoran Desert trail to the south. You can stay on this route, although you will have to turn left to enter the phoenix preserve. It should be behind a rusted fence.
You can follow this route until you find the intersection with the Cactus Wren trail. From here, most first-timers go through the Cactus Wren Trail before connecting to the Valle Verde, Desert Tortoise, and Dixie Mountain Bypass trails. Finally, it reaches the Paloma Parkway at the Sonoran Desert Road.
Next is the Sonoran Foothills trail that connects to Dove Valley Road, where you should cross and branch into the Ocotillo Trail. This section is fairly technical, but with some good bike-handling skills, you should be able to get through. However, there is an out through the Skip Rimsza Paseo, which should allow you to ride back to the Apache Wash Trailhead on a paved surface.
For those up to a challenge, we found that going through the Valle Verde Trail and into Dixie Mountain Loop, followed by the Bobcat trail instead of going through the Desert tortoise trail and Dixie Mountain Bypass, to be a much more interesting ride.
There are plenty of desert shrubs and cacti that you’ll see while riding the trails, with plenty of yellow desert wildflowers as well. There are also hills like Dixie Mountain.