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Hawes Trails: Ride the Best Singletrack near Phoenix

Thanks to high-quality trail building and maintenance, the Hawes Trail System is now home to some of the best-quality singletrack in the Phoenix metro area.

Mountain Biking Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Hawes: Red Mountain Rush Loop
Photo: Greg Heil


The Hawes Trails, located to the northeast of downtown Phoenix near the suburb of Mesa, is one of the newer trail systems in the Phoenix Metro Area. While trail systems like McDowell Mountain and South Mountain have long been popular with local mountain bikers, it's only within the last decade or so that Hawes has risen to prominence.

In fact, many trails are still being built and improved in the Hawes Trail System, thanks to ongoing efforts by the Hawes Trail Alliance. The Hawes Trail Alliance is an active advocacy group that has successfully secured substantial funding to help maintain and expand the trail network. This professional and forward-thinking approach has led to the construction of fantastic new trails, such as Sunset Ridge, Red Mountain Rush, and Big Sister.

The newest trails in the system have quickly garnered renown both in the Phoenix region and in the broader mountain biking world. Sunset Ridge is a brutally-gnarly descent featuring big hucks and massive rock gardens, which makes for a great Youtube video. On the other hand, Big Sister is the closest thing you'll find to a flow trail in Arizona! Red Mountain Rush bridges the gap between these two trail experiences, which makes it a true crowd-pleaser.

While the newest builds have gotten a lot of press, the classic trails in the network are the ones that originally drew riders in. According to HawesTrailAlliance.com, the trail system includes 25.2 miles of approved trails, 12.8 miles of unapproved social trails, and 16.7 miles of proposed trails, for a total of 54.7 miles of superb mountain biking.

The singletrack here consists of a mix of flowy tracks and tough, rocky, challenging rides. But all of these many interconnecting strands of singletrack are set in a protected swath of the beautiful Sonoran Desert. As you ride through the towering saguaro cacti, dodge the jumping cholla, and marvel at the beautiful ocotillo, the beauty of this place will capture your imagination, and you may never want to leave!

Routes included

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