As you head north out of the endless sprawl that Scottsdale has become, the desert begins to sprout boulders. By the time cyclists reach Tonto National Forest, the boulders have taken over and it’s easy to forget this is still the Sonoran Desert. Luckily for mountain bikers, each little gap between these boulders makes terrific singletrack on which to ride. The slopes of the 4,000-foot high McDowell Mountains, just to the south of Pima and Dynamite, capture more rain than the rest of the desert.
Everything you might normally find in the Sonoran Desert grows here, only much bigger: Looming ocotillo and cholla, blooming creosote, palo verdes, and mesquites. Summer or winter rains create explosive color in the desert, contrasting against dramatic boulders and offering up some great photo-ops along the way. Trail Surface: Singletrack, with occasional doubletrack (usually as access to other singletrack trails).
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