Guidebook

Experience the Desert: Mountain Bike the Arizona Trail

Enjoy one of the very best bikepacking routes in the world by thru-riding the Arizona Trail.

Description

"The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a complete non-motorized path, stretching 800 diverse miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities and people,” reads the description on the official AZTrail.org website.

For mountain bikers, the Arizona Trail (AZT) forms one third of the triple crown of bikepacking, along with the Colorado Trail and the Tour Divide. Like most long distance trails, the bike-specific version of the AZT varies from the hiking version due to wilderness re-routes. The full-length bikepacking route measures about 750 miles from end-to-end.

The segments included in this guidebook run from south to north, more or less following the Arizona Trail Race route. Some of the exact routes shown here include detours to campgrounds, but by linking together these individual segments, the path north is quite clear.

Included in these segments are the South Kaibab and North Kaibab trails through Grand Canyon National Park. No wheels are allowed to touch the ground in the canyon, so thru-bikers generally take the wheels off their bike, and lash their bike frame and wheels to a backpack. Hiking down into the canyon and back up with not only all your gear on your back, but your entire bike as well, is a brutal effort undertaking. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it if you truly want to complete the Arizona Trail.

Those who persevere and thru-ride/hike the entire trail will have completed one of the most difficult challenges in mountain biking today!

Arizona Trail Race: Mexico Border to Forest Road 785

Arizona Trail Race: Mexico Border to Forest Road 785

108.8 km
Section 1 of this epic bikepacking route, beginning at the Mexican border.
Private
Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 1

Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 1

33.3 km
This diverse and exciting three-day adventure features 60 miles of flowing singletrack through oak and juniper forests, across golden grasslands and finishing among stands of giant saguaro cacti.
Private
Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 2

Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 2

44.9 km
Continuing north along the Arizona Trail, today’s route is mostly fast and flowing with a lot of elevation loss between the start and finish.
Private
Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 3

Arizona Trail: Santa Ritas to Saguaro NP, Day 3

17.3 km
Limestone dominates the landscape, which makes for challenging riding, but soon disappears as you descend into lower elevations.
Private
Arizona Trail Race: Saguaro National Park to Oracle State Park

Arizona Trail Race: Saguaro National Park to Oracle State Park

136.0 km
The Arizona Trail Race route, running from Saguaro National Park past Mount Lemmon and culminating at Oracle State Park.
Private
Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 1

Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 1

44.1 km
Deep in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona lies one of the finest stretches of singletrack anywhere – The Arizona Trail between Oracle, AZ and Superior, AZ.
Private
Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 2

Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 2

41.2 km
The second day of your journey marks the transition into the more stunning final 3 days of purpose-built singletrack, flowy trails and rugged, jaw-dropping terrain.
Private
Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 3

Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 3

27.9 km
The trail in this section is stunning – excellent contouring grades through thick Saguaro forests with the Gila River gently flowing beneath us to our left for the entire day.
Private
Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 4

Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 4

41.7 km
Simply put this final day is one of the best days of singletrack riding you’ll get anywhere, anytime—it’s challenging, beautiful and rugged and is the perfect finale to a great trip.
Private
Arizona Trail Race: Hwy 60 to Lake Mary Road

Arizona Trail Race: Hwy 60 to Lake Mary Road

362.4 km
A section of the AZTR includes several wilderness bypasses and the Mogollan Rim.
Private
Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Mormon Lake, Day 4

Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Mormon Lake, Day 4

Sedona
35.0 km
Ride some fantastic, overlooked sections of the Arizona Trail.
Private
Hermosa Tours Flagstaff to Sedona Tour

Hermosa Tours Flagstaff to Sedona Tour

Flagstaff
158.3 km
This adventure includes over 96 miles of amazing Arizona Trail around Flagstaff and south to Mormon Lake before traversing to the Mogollon Rim overlooking Sedona and dropping into beautiful Red Rock Country.
Private
Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 1

Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 1

Flagstaff
35.8 km
Follow the historic stagecoach line from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon during this 100-mile adventure.
Private
Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 2

Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 2

Flagstaff
60.2 km
An undulating and mellow ride through an austere and beautiful landscape that looks like you could be in Wyoming.
Private
Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 3

Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 3

Grand Canyon National Park
54.0 km
A classic northern Arizona Trail mountain biking experience, complete with singletrack and doubletrack, abundant wildlife, awesome views, and some route-finding challenges.
Private
Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 4

Arizona Trail: Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, Day 4

Grand Canyon National Park
16.2 km
What better way to finish a ride on the Arizona Trail than on the edge of one of the seven natural wonders of the world?
Private
South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
10.1 km
A jaw-dropping journey into the Grand Canyon, and the most direct route from rim to river.
Private
North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
22.7 km
The main route from Grand Canyon's North Rim down to the Colorado River, and one of the most beautiful trails in America.
Private
Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 1

Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 1

Grand Canyon National Park
19.3 km
Along the Arizona Trail between Grand Canyon and the Utah state line you’ll discover outstanding singletrack, phenomenal views, and beautiful forests and meadows that seldom see human visitors.
Private
Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 2

Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 2

Grand Canyon National Park
33.2 km
One of the Top 10 passages on the entire Arizona Trail.
Private
Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 3

Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 3

Grand Canyon National Park
26.7 km
A long, slow descent toward Utah.
Private
Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 4

Arizona Trail: Grand Canyon to Utah, Day 4

Grand Canyon National Park
43.2 km
The last two passages of the Arizona Trail are combined into one grand finale on today’s ride.
Private