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FATMAP difficulty grade
The Sonoran Loop Competitive Track is one of Maricopa County's dedicated XC mountain bike race tracks.
It's encouraging to see a county with such spectacular parks fully embrace competitive mountain biking in this way.
This acceptance of mountain biking is due in part to the long, rich mountain bike history in Phoenix, Arizona. Even though this one-way high-speed mountain bike loop is a pretty cool concept, this track, in particular, isn't the best mountain bike ride as of the time of this writing in early 2023.
Sections of the track are very eroded and rubbly, and it could use substantial maintenance.
Even so, this is an accessible intermediate-friendly ride that will challenge intermediates to improve their rock garden skills. The majority of this route is fast, straight, and rips straight down and straight back up a series of steep-sided washes.
In classic cross-country style, it's very easy to go anaerobic on these short, steep climbs.
In some spots, wide sections of trail make for easy passing during races but a less beautiful experience when pedaled solo. The route as mapped follows the most technical sections of trail in order to make for a more engaging and challenging ride.
It is possible, however, to bypass the most difficult sections for a shorter and easier route.
See the "Easy Loop" version, mapped separately. On the far northern end of the loop, this route follows the main track, which heads up and over a short, steep climb, dropping into a narrow canyon.
This short section of trail is the best part of the entire loop, with a scenic, techy descent filled with boulders and ledge drops.
This section of trail earns the "Difficult" rating, with the rest of the trail trending more towards "Moderate." The wrap-up is much more mellow, and you'll flow quickly back toward the trailhead.