South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, hosts a fascinating mix of challenging terrains and panoramic views. Among the many trails that snake through its rugged landscape, the National Trail stands out as a magnet for adrenaline junkies and mountain biking aficionados.
National Trail can be ascended or descended, but either direction demands expert skills and unmatched fitness. Few trails in Arizona – or perhaps anywhere else – offer such a technical and intense climb that's as exhilarating as it is exhausting. One would be hard-pressed to find another trail in AZ that could rival the exhilaration and technicality of this one. "It will kick your ass and you'll love every turn of the pedal," notes a seasoned rider.
The trail is lined with many technical paths, punctuated by some particularly gripping challenges:
For those who can tackle its rigors, the National Trail offers more than just a physical challenge. It boasts breathtaking scenes, making the arduous journey worth every bead of sweat. Some riders even confessed to walking certain parts of the trail, not due to its difficulty, but to soak in the serene beauty it unfolds.
To reach the National Trail, take the I-10 to Baseline Road and head west to 48th street. Proceed a quarter-mile past Euclid and look out for a sign indicating the park entrance. A brief 400 feet further and a left turn will lead to the parking lot and trailhead.
National Trail, with its rock gardens, technical terrains, and jaw-dropping views, has etched a special place in the hearts of many cyclists. "It was more fun than riding in Sedona," exclaimed one. Another summed it up aptly, "This trail is amazing...ly unforgiving."For intermediate to advanced riders, this trail is undoubtedly a bucket-list-worthy adventure. But, come prepared, both mentally and physically. And as always, ride safe!