By Maile Proctor
Mountain and road biking are not only beneficial exercise outlets, they’re also enjoyable family bonding activities. Weekend bike outings encourage both children and parents to unplug from digital distractions and reconnect with each other in the Great Outdoors.
Throughout the Phoenix area, families will find a wide range of biking trails geared toward various age and skill levels. Pedal along desert terrain surrounded by scenery that belongs in a Wild West epic. Experience nature’s awe-inspiring presence and inhale that fresh mountain air. Most importantly, spend time together without the demands of our fast-paced world
stealing everyone’s focus.
Whether you’re a Phoenix local or simply here on vacation, the following trails are suitable for your entire family of bikers—from novice to advanced and young to…well, not-so- young! So, grab those handlebars and prepare for adventure in this Valley of the Sun.
Blevins Trail, Usery Mountain Regional Park
Featuring moderate elevation, smooth turns, and clearly marked signage, this trail can
accommodate kids of all ages—even little ones just taking off their training wheels.
Flanked by wildflowers and picturesque Sonoran Desert landscape, Blevins is ideal for a leisurely afternoon jaunt.
Picnic areas are situated along the route if your group needs a snack break and remember to bring water as this arid locale doesn’t yield much shade.
South Terrace Trial, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
Just on the outskirts of downtown Phoenix, tucked between skyline and mountain vistas, this trail invites the whole family to coast alongside wildlife—from coyotes and jackrabbits to herons and turtles.
The paved course through a riparian zone is generally flat, allowing riders of all ages and
abilities to keep pace. Also, with close access to the Rio Salado (Salt River), you might even feel a subtle breeze while en route on your explorations.
West Park Loop Trail, Papago Park
Encircling the sandstone butte formations that have made this region famous, this trail system is conveniently situated within the Phoenix city limits, bringing the natural beauty of cacti, sagebrush and other desert foliage into your own backyard. The West Park Loop features some craggy spots that could prove strenuous for little ones, but overall, the terrain is forgiving.
Pack insect repellent as mosquitoes often swarm around the park.
Circumference Trail, Deem Hills Recreation Area
Set against a unique backdrop of volcanic rocks, prehistoric granite and rolling summits, this trail gives visitors an opportunity to ogle at the Hieroglyphic and Bradshaw Mountains while pedaling through diverse vegetation. The trek begins uphill for about .5 miles, so young bikers might require assistance.
After this initial hump (pun intended!), you’ll enjoy smooth elevation, clear markers and well-maintained pathways at every junction.
Grand Loop Trail, Casa Grande Mountain
Located about a half-hour outside metro-Phoenix with numerous routes to choose from, this trail system offers a weekend respite from the urban clamor. Children over age 6 should be able to navigate the lower slopes, but note that, as the incline steepens, this trail becomes more challenging, so avoid higher slopes. However, despite its length and slightly uneven topography, the Grand Loop’s views of Arizona wilderness are unparalleled.
Skunk Creek Trail, Rio Vista Community Park
Connecting several communities throughout the Maricopa County area, this trail is entirely comprised of level asphalt surfaces for a relaxed and family-friendly joyride.
Adjacent to the banks of its namesake—Skunk Creek—this circuit passes swampland teeming with indigenous creatures, recreational amenities like splash-pads or volleyball courts, and even playground access if your kiddos need a recess from pumping their legs.
Apache Wash Loop Trail, Sonoran Preserve
Carved into the free-spirited terrain that sets Arizona apart from other climates, this trail system provides a breathtaking vantage point of the Sonoran Desert, seen up-close from your bike seat. Certain sandy patches along this route are not recommended for young children or inexperienced riders, so if your family requires a less technical course, the Sonoran Preserve also offers a paved alternative—ideal for new learners on training wheels.
48th Street Trail, Old Cross-Cut Canal Park
Meandering parallel along one of suburban Phoenix’s central roadways, this trail connects residents to multiple shopping plazas, recreational facilities and community centers.
While people mostly use the path for commuter purposes, its accessible location, safe surroundings and level surface make 48th Street Trail a laid-back weekend excursion as well. Plus, you can also glimpse scenic Camelback Mountain in the background.
If you call the Valley home and are looking for a weekend activity the whole family will enjoy, these trails are kid-approved crowd pleasers. Or, if you’re just passing through and want to experience this outdoorsy destination, biking is an excellent way to explore distinctive Southwest landscape.
Weekend Getaway – 4 Loop Trails, Casa Grande Mountain
Once you’ve ridden these picturesque trails with your family, it might be time for a weekend getaway with more advanced biking at Casa Grande Mountain.
Located 40 minutes outside of Phoenix, this trail is a bit more isolated, making it the perfect place for relaxing and disconnecting from a hectic life. The north side trail loops are about 5 miles and provide changing scenery, a couple jumps and two wash bridges to cross for the more adventurous. The south side trail loops, which get more technical as you go, run to the south point of the mountain in a Desert Classic like fashion.
The east and west legs of the trail are the most difficult, with more complex descents and steeper climbing.
Wherever your travels take you throughout the Phoenix area, these trails are worth checking out.
Has your family left any tire tracks on the trails on this list, or do you have another favorite that we forgot to mention? Tell us all about your mountain or road biking adventures in the comments below!
Photo credit: Cyclotourist https://www.flickr.com/photos/
Author Maile Proctor is a content editor for Carpe Daily. She earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and Television Production from Chapman Univerity. When she’s not working, editing, or writing, she enjoys hiking, biking, staying active, and officiating basketball.
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