FATMAP difficulty grade
Holding the title as the "Largest Municipal Park in the United States", South Mountain is a trail runners paradise.
This is a perfect loop for newer trail runners, or if you're simply short on time.
As compared to other trails further up the mountain, most of this route is well groomed and easy to follow.
Most of the elevation change is gradual, and the entire loop is very much "runnable".
For those looking for a longer route, check out the [South Mountain Eastern Sampler](https://fatmap.com/30907/Other/trail_running/routeid/177862adventure-studio/South_Mountain:_Eastern_Sampler/0. This trail run begins at the Ramada at the end of East Pima Canyon Road.
Just 10 minutes from the airport and most of Tempe, this may be the most popular trailhead anywhere on South Mountain.
At the Pima Trailhead, you can find water and restrooms as well as a picnic area. This trail run links the East and West Pima Canyon Loops and can be completed in either direction.
Follow either of the trails that lead behind the picnic pavilion to begin the loop. Enjoy the widely diverse ecology as you run, including several types of cactus and the elephant tree - known for its unique "multiple contorted trunk architecture".
Wildlife is also abundant, specifically jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, and the occasional javelina.
Chuckwalla, a type of lizard, can also be found in abundance around the mountain.