Hike Marcos de Niza Ridgeline / National Loop

Arizona Pima Canyon Trailhead

Added by Nick Tort

If you're looking to: get off the tourist highway trail, enjoy killer South Mountain views, take a rollercoaster for a hike with an easy stroll or jog back to the start - this is a loop you should give a go.

This is somewhat of a hidden gem in South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States, even though it's right there for all to see. The best way to take advantage of this trail is to attack the ridgeline with an intense hiking pace or trail run, connecting it to the National Trail (fire road) and jogging it home to complete the loop.

At the east side of the park, Pima Canyon Trailhead, head directly south onto Desert Classic and immediately shoot to the right into a quick ascent up to the ridgeline. Follow the trail as it climbs and falls along the ridge and winds up, around and over mini peaks until you reach the large Boulder Pile (around 1.4 miles). Cop a quick scramble up to the top and breathe it in.

This area proves to be the best view along this loop as to your right, the ridgeline blends into the eastern cities, and on your left, National Trail (fire road section), Beverly Canyon and the Javelina Trail course through the park against the Phoenix city backdrop. Hop your way through the boulders as it slightly dips and comes to a fork. Stick to the right and head down towards the stone houses and the junction with National Trail.

This section of National Trail (also just referred to as the fire road) is a wide smooth trail that winds it's way back to the Pima Canyon Trailhead. There are slight ups and downs, but it is relatively a smooth coasting ride - making it ideal for a trail run to finish up the adventure.

There are no signs along this hike although it is pretty heavily used. The full ridgeline trail almost extend roughly 4 miles across South Mountain Park and can be connected for a custom adventure with: Beverly Canyon Trail, Corona de Loma, Desert Classic, National Trail, San Gabriel Ridge, San Gabriel Canyon, Telegraph Pass, and more.

Pack List

  • Pack
  • Water
  • Trail Snacks
  • Hiking or Trail Runners
  • Leash for your furry friends
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Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Spring, Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:



2.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

640 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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How to Get There

10 months ago

Really Fun!

I love to either hike the ridge line part and then run the fire road back or vice versa. Fun and close to home

10 months ago

Added by Nick Tort

I love to share what I find along the way so that others may experience the same joys. Sometimes my words fall short, but a photo can tell the story for me.

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