Pemberton Trail

The Valley has more kick-ass mountain bike trails than you can throw a broken chain at, but nothing beats Pemberton for continuous one-way rough-riding pleasure. In fact, since the few equestrians at McDowell Mountain Park are well spread out, and hikers rare, this trail transforms a land area the size of Fountain Hills into your own personal mountain bike heaven. On many days, especially if it's the slightest bit warm out, we've had the entire loop, and seemingly every hill, rock, cholla cactus and collared lizard within it, to our smug little selves. The park also has two wonderful, mountain-bike-only competitive tracks. But even without as much of the coveted single-track trail per mile, Pemberton is every bit as fun as the comp tracks and there's 15 miles of it. Bike clockwise for a breezy, long descent on the back part of the loop; counterclockwise if you want a shorter, rockier downhill ride. Either way, it's a blast for beginners to experts, and the ever-changing scenery just rolls on and on. Pemberton will probably take you a couple of hours even if you're pretty fast. So be sure to take water with you, even in cooler temps. It's a big 'un.


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