- 9.5 miles
- Aerobic Difficulty:
- Time To Allow:
- 2 - 3 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 1300 feet
- All Year
The Desert Classic Trail is a popular trail amongst bikers of all abilities in the Phoenix area, a great trail on which to get a good workout whilst enjoying desert scenery. The Desert Classic Trail does not change in elevation much at it follows along the southern edge of South Mountain Park, mildly rolling through desert landscapes dotted with impressively large Saguaro cacti intermixed with a multitude of other smaller Sonoran Desert flora. There is not much in the way of technical terrain on the Desert Classic Trail, barring the crossings on a few washes, which have steep embankments and sandy bottoms.
Starting in the Pima Canyon Parking area, the Desert Classic Trail is often ridden one way to its termination at the San Juan Parking area. Once at the San Juan Parking area riders have a multitude of choices for return to the start including car shuttle, riding one of the more difficult downhill rides that originate here, riding down several paved roadways or returning via the same route on the Desert Classic Trail. In addition, numerous side spur trails that can be accessed from the Desert Classic Trail allowing riders to add mileage and technicality to the ride.
Additional mileage can be added by linking with other trails in the complex. Roundtrip on trail is 19 miles.
Time To Allow:
Longer rides can easily be assembled through numerous side trails
Little or no elevation change.
South Mountain complex is a series of trails that can be intermixed to create longer or shorter rides. The Desert Classic Trail is especially popular and may become crowded at times with bikers, hikers and trail runners. Please be considerate on the trails and understand right of way protocol. Trail difficulty ranges from moderate to extreme. Riders should be in good physical condition, ride with partners especially when unfamiliar with terrain and bring plenty of water when riding in the desert due to the harsh nature of this environment.
Map + Directions
To access the Pima Canyon Trailhead take I-10 eastbound from downtown Phoenix. Take Exit 153 48th Street/Broadway East and turn southbound on 48th Street. After about 3 miles look for Pima Canyon parking area at junction of 48th street and Guadalupe Rd. Parking is at a premium in this area due to the popularity of the South Mountain trails. The Phoenix Municipality asks visitors to refrain from parking off the roadway as this causes erosion and damage to the natural habitat. The Desert Classic Trailhead is located right at the parking area.