East Valley residents have easy access to some of the best mountain bike trails in the state. From beginner rides to technical thrills, there are options for anybody interested in singletrack adventure.
Not sure where to start? Over the next three installments, I’ll share a few ride suggestions by ability level and some bike shops that can help you out.
Best beginner ride: San Tan Mountain Regional Park
San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek offers a tame introduction to desert mountain biking without ever being boring. Do a short out-and-back on the Moonlight Trail, or do any combination of trails to make a fun loop. Just make sure to stay away from the washes and from the advanced Goldmine Trail.
Entry is $6 and helps pay for nice restrooms, trail signage and a Visitor Center.
For information, directions and to print a trail map visit: Maricopa.gov/parks/santan
Runner-up: Usery Mountain Regional Park
Don’t let the difficulty of popular hiking trails like Wind Cave fool you — there are fun, gentle and swoopy trails down in the flats. Located in East Mesa, Usery is another Maricopa County Park like San Tan. Entry is $6. Visit Maricopa.gov/parks/usery for more information and a map.
Best East Valley mountain bike shops
Before hitting the trails, it is important to make sure your bike is in good working order; that you have plenty of water, food, and emergency supplies; and that you have a clear idea of where you are headed.
Stop by a local bike shop for a tune-up, advice on gear, and a spare tube or two. A good shop will also offer group rides to help show you the trails and meet new friends.
Some of the best shops in the area are DNA Cycles (2031 N. Power Road), Two-Wheel Jones (1917 S. Signal Butte Road), and Adventure Cycles (2336 E. Baseline Road).
Next time, I’ll share my picks for the best intermediate-level trails nearby.
• Mesa resident Kristen and her husband have been mountain biking together for the past decade. They recently got a new biking buddy when their 1-year-old son started joining them.