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Downhill Trail Biking in the Pinals

The vista from the top. Photo by Jenn Walker


The Pinal Mountains offer some of the best downhill riding in the state and have long been a major attraction for downhill cyclists − for good reason. Places where you can drive up into the mountains and ride down a trail aren’t all that common. It’s cooler, too, at elevations of 7,000-plus feet. You’ll catch some shade in the pines towards the summit, and still be amazed by the grandeur of the mountains as the trees open up for displays of impressive vistas. 

The most popular trails to ride are Kellner, Ice House, and Six-Shooter Trails. These trails are difficult to ride and can be dangerous. They should only be ridden by those with technical downhill experience. Depending upon your experience level, riding down can take about an hour.

You will have to shuttle cars to get to the top of the trail, whether you catch a ride to the top and have your ride meet you at the bottom, or drive up, leave your car, and catch a ride at the bottom that can bring you back up.

If you don’t have the ability to shuttle cars or catch a ride, you can park at Ice House CCC and ride Road 112 south, then take the Six Shooter Trail north back to Ice House CCC. It’s a short cross-country ride, but you’ll still get some good views. It’s a nice elevation (Icehouse CCC is at 4,560 feet) and not terribly steep. Many other parts of the road and trail system are worth exploring, such as the Ice House CCC Loop − inquire about this at the Globe Ranger District Office.

Caution: Though it can be tempting to bomb down certain parts of the trails, be prepared to encounter hikers, horse riders, and animals. Some parts of the trail may be overgrown or have large rocks, tree stumps, or other hazards, and there are numerous blind corners and steep drop-offs. Though for the most part the trails are well-marked, you might consider picking up a more detailed map and/or getting more thorough directions from the Globe Ranger District Office.

Level: Experienced

Best Season to Go: Spring, Summer, Fall

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One comment

  1. In my experience, fast downhill riding is not safe on trails shared with hikers. I’m a mountain biker myself, but I’ve run into nothing but trouble with caravans of trucks filled with testosterone-buzzed creeps wanting to bomb down as fast as possible. They aren’t out for fitness riding or to see the mountains. There’s no sharing with these types. I’m writing to Tonto National Forest asking them to close trails in the Pinals to bikes because of the downhillers.

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