Phoenix Motorcycle Rides

David Link

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Discover everything the Valley of the Sun has to offer with Phoenix motorcycle rides as selected by REVER. Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and the fifth-largest city in the US, and this desert oasis along the Salt River is the perfect winter escape. Outside of the metro area, the Sonoran Desert looms to the south, while rugged mountains and white-capped peaks dominate the north. If you're itching to explore this jewel of the American Southwest, REVER has you covered with a full selection of hand-picked rides below. Just gas up, put on your shades and select a route to get started.

Tips For The Best Motorcycle Rides In Phoenix

Download REVER to help execute the best motorcycle rides in Phoenix and the surrounding area. It is free to get started, and you can open hand-picked routes and start tracking your own rides today. But for the best experience, get serious about navigation with a REVER Pro membership built especially for those who live and breathe riding. You'll be able to access great features like twisty roads recommendations, turn by turn and voice navigation, weather alerts, LiveRIDE location tracking, automated text updates for your friends, and much more. One thing is sure, you want to be well-prepared before you head out into the desert on motorcycle rides near Phoenix, and REVER will keep you in the know wherever you go.

Any discussion of Phoenix motorcycle rides has to start with the climate. The heat is a real issue in Phoenix, and triple digit temps greet you most days from June to September. In addition to the heat, Phoenix is located in one of the sunniest parts of the world. In fact, the amount of sunshine the city receives every year is equatable with the Sahara Desert. What this means for you is quality gear is critical for motorcycle rides in Phoenix, AZ. Invest in equipment like hydration systems, cooling vests and mesh motorcycle gear before you hit any rides. You won't regret it. You can count on sweating during these rides, so motorcycle headwear to control your sweat is never a bad idea either.

Late June and early July brings monsoon season, and this weather pattern is no joke. Severe weather with flash flooding, hail and dust storms can occur during this time, so make sure to have your REVER weather alerts primed if you ride in the monsoon season. This said, you can bet most days will be sunny and there will be no rain in the forecast. Some of these motorcycle rides near Phoenix do take you through long stretches of desert with no services. So always take the chance to fuel up and refill your water supplies when you have the chance.

Phoenix Attractions

The Phoenix metro area is one of the largest in the US, and there is a lot to see and do. Any visit starts with the natural beauty of the desert. You can climb peaks like Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak to catch a bird's eye view of the valley and the surrounding mountains. The cactus is an iconic symbol of the area, and the Desert Botanical Garden provides a unique opportunity to see them all in one place. The Mexican food is legendary in Phoenix, and you'll want to grab a meal and a cerveza at top rated restaurants like Ajo Al's and Cocina Madrigal. On a hot summer day, retreat inside to see the Diamondbacks play baseball at Chase Field. It may be 100+ degrees outside, but its always 78 degrees in the park when the roof is closed. In the spring, Phoenix is home to the Cactus League portion of MLB Spring Training. The weather is excellent this time of year, so you can pair motorcycle rides around Phoenix with some Spring Training baseball for a unique experience.

South Mountain Ride

Explore the largest municipal park in the US and one of the largest in the world in this hour and a half ride through South Mountain Park. As the name suggests, the park is located south of Phoenix and north of the Ahwatukee suburb. South Mountain contains more than 16,000 acres of rugged desert terrain covered by brush, cacti and unique Elephant Trees. There are actually three mountain ranges that make up the park including the Gila, Guadalupe and Ma Ha Tauk. South Mountain also features several ramadas, or partially enclosed shelters, that allow visitors to escape the sun. A word of caution as you navigate the narrow roads through the park. They are often shared by motorists, cyclists, and hikers, so watch for traffic. In addition, portions of the road contain blind corners and steep drop offs, and you should always be aware of what lies ahead.

Begin the day with breakfast under the pecan trees at The Farm at South Mountain. Then ride down South Central Avenue to reach the entrance to the park. Before you ride into the park, Mineral Road provides a unique detour opportunity in the Mystery Castle. This odd castle was built by a father for his daughter using any materials available including adobe, automobile parts, old railroad rails, stones and more. The cement was even mixed together using goat's milk. You can take a tour of the grounds daily, and it is often led by the daughter who still lives in the castle. Now let's get back to the route. Cruise past the old Scorpion Gulch Store near the entrance of the park and up into the valley between two mountain ranges. When South Central Avenue forks into Summit and San Juan Road, take a left onto Summit Road to head east. The parking lot here provides access to the old Max Delta Mine to the south, and you can explore the mine for a little exercise. Bend around the nearby gulch above the National Trail Lookout and Telegraph Pass Trailhead, and then follow the road back north along the ridge to reach Dobbins Lookout. Hang a left onto Phoenix South Mountain Park Road to get to the lookout parking area. Dobbins Lookout is the highest accessible part of the park at 2,330 ft., and it provides panoramic views of much of the Phoenix valley. The lookout is a worthy photo opp at any time of day, including sunset.

When finished with the overlook, continue on Summit Road past another lookout. Consider another stop for more views of Phoenix as it's hard to get enough of the scenery around South Mountain Park. Next, keep heading east on Buena Vista Road as it snakes up and over a nearby ridge. Pass by TV Road and hit the Buena Vista parking lot when you run out of road. Hike a short ways up the Corona de Loma Trail to see the rock feature known as the Chinese Wall, or take the Geronimo Trail up to another high point for a less-crowded overlook of the Phoenix valley. Now head back the way you came, but this time turn left on TV Road. This short road takes you up to a collection of local radio towers, but more importantly there is another lookout point, this time to the south with views of the Gila River. You've knocked out the roads in this section of the park, so backtrack to the San Juan and Summit Road intersection, and this time take San Juan Road to the west. This valley offers a fun little ride along the dry creek bed, and the last bit curves around to the San Juan Lookout. Ride back out of the park to complete the day at South Mountain.

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Ride among the cacti at South Mountain Park.
South Mountain affords excellent views of the Phoenix valley.
Dobbins Lookout has a large stone ramada that is part of the overlook. (source)

Highway 87 Mesa To Rye

Set out on a two hour ride out to Rye and back to Mesa, AZ on this tour of the desert mountains northeast of Phoenix. Begin this route along the Salt River north of Mesa on Highway 87. A few blocks off the highway, there is a unique little taco joint called The Stand that is worth a visit, but fair warning, there are no bathrooms and you can only eat outside. Mesa also plays host to a regular bike event called <a href=””>Motorcycles On Main</a>. Check their website for regular updates on events throughout the year. Otherwise, cruise up the Beeline Highway or Highway 87 past the Wo-Ko-Pa Casino. You'll enter into the Tonto National Forest, and off to the east, Browns Peak is off in the distance at 7657 ft. Pass by hiking trails along the road at Four Peaks Wilderness and Ballentine Trailhead. As you climb up to Rincon Pass, you'll encounter a unique section of the highway where northbound traffic actually crosses over to the left side with southbound traffic on the right. Enjoy the rugged views as you cross several bridges and thread through the rocky hillsides and gulches.

Cruise through Sunflower, AZ, and then tackle more scenic desert hills in the shadow of Mount Ord until you reach the intersection with Highway 188. Hang a right for a short detour to Jake's Corner Bar. This Western-style roadhouse is a popular stop for bikers in the area, and the cowboy beans are the signature Jake's dish served daily. Back on Highway 87, you can see Mazatzal Peak to the west at 7,903 ft. Ride the final section of desert along a fork of Tonto Creek into Rye, AZ. Continue on up into Payson, AZ if you want to see more of the area, or head back towards Mesa to complete the ride.

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This route starts near Camelback Mountain, which is a popular hike in North Phoenix.
You can see Piestewa Peak from the route as well.
As you get closer to Rye, AZ, you'll see the Mazatzal Mountains off to the west.

Show Low And Back On Highway 60

Ride up to the White Mountains of Arizona and explore unforgettable river canyon vistas on this epic all-day route to Show Low, AZ and back. Head out of Florence Junction, AZ on Highway 60 to begin the ride. In this first stretch, you'll wind up through Gonzales Pass into Alamo Canyon and over the Queen Creek Bridge. This beautiful bridge built in 1949 spans the canyon in dramatic fashion. Just above the canyon is Boyce Thompson Arboretum with several different park areas located where the Silver King Wash and Queen Creek converge. There is even an old suspension bridge to walk over on the Queen Creek. Just up the road is another historic site known as the preserved wagon wheel tracks. These old tracks were left by mule teams hauling silver from the Silver King Mine that operated in the 1870s. Pull off in Superior, AZ on Main Street to eat at Porter's Saloon & Grill. Then continue on up Highway 60 through Elm Canyon to another scenic feature on this route in the Queen Creek Tunnel. This 1,217 ft. tunnel through the Superstition Mountains features a scenic overlook you can hike just after going through the tunnel.

Cruise on through Top-Of-The World, AZ and over the Pinto Creek Bridge into Miami and Claypool, AZ. The Shamrock Lounge in Claypool regularly hosts motorcycle events in the area, so pop in for some food and to see what's happening. Outside of town, Highway 60 turns south to pass through Globe, AZ. This town offers a couple historic sites in the Old Dominion Mine and Besh-Ba-Gowah Museum. The latter is the preserved stone ruins of the Salado people who once lived in the area. Follow Highway 60 as it turns back northeast towards Show Low, AZ. This next section is a long haul, so make sure you fuel up, and if you're hungry don't miss out on the authentic Mexican at Chalo's Casa Reynoso. As you ride this last section towards Show Low, you'll climb higher out of the desert into more rugged, mountainous terrain, and there are plenty of fun snaking turns along the way. Consider stops at the Timber Camp or Seneca Lake if you need a break.

The ride gets really exciting when you reach the Salt River Canyon. There is a scenic overlook of the canyon that is worth a stop before you make the ride down a series of switchbacks to the river. Once on the canyon floor, there is a rest stop at the banks of the river if you want to stop for photos. Consider exploring a dirt road leading a bit up the river from here to see Apache Falls. Back on 60, there is another overlook of the canyon at a bend in the highway. This isn't quite the Grand Canyon, but the views still rank among the best in Arizona. More unforgettable scenery awaits as you follow the Salt River through the canyon. Pull off at Becker Butte to catch one last vista of the high canyon walls. The road departs from the Salt River here, but it's still a great ride through more hilly country as you pass by Fort Apache Reservation. Cross over Carrizo Creek to ride another stretch of beautiful desert canyon. There is an especially engaging section of the road here that takes a sweeping turn high on a bluff over Corduroy Creek.

More canyon crossings await on this last section of the ride, this time on Cedar Canyon Bridge. Afterward, you'll follow Forestdale Creek up into deeper forests and the White Mountains. Soon you'll arrive in Show Low to complete the “up” section of the ride. Before you turn around, take a detour on South Clark Road to Buffalo Bill's Tavern & Grill. The owner has collected a wide variety of Buffalo Bill memorabilia that makes this restaurant a must-see. There is camping and a rest area available at Fools Hollow Lake north of here as well if you need to take a load off. Trace the route back down Highway 60 to Phoenix when you're ready to go.  

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You'll start this route in Northwest Phoenix near Piestewa Peak.
If you ride in the spring, the landscape around the Salt River Canyon will be in bloom. (source)
High rock walls over 2,000 ft. high border the Salt River Canyon. (source)
After you climb out of the canyon floor, pull off at the Becker Butte overlook. (source)

Morenci To Alpine AZ And NM Loop

Tour the Arizona / New Mexico border on this full day figure eight loop through Morenci and Alpine, AZ. This ride begins a few hours east of Phoenix, and you'll take Highway 70 through Safford, AZ and then Highway 191 up to Morenci to get to the starting point. Morenci is a historic mining town that is still the site of the second-largest copper mine in the world. You can see the open-pit copper mine at one of many overlooks near town, and there is even the chance of watching them blast on some days. Stop into the Miner's Diner for breakfast before you head out. Then take Highway 191 or the scenic Coronado Trail to wind through the mine and then north toward Alpine. The Coronado Trail is packed with twists and turns through rugged desert country, and there are even a few exciting hairpin turns along the way. Exit mine country into Chesser Canyon, and then climb a couple switchbacks to stop at the Coronado Trail overlook and look back down the canyon. Keep on climbing into higher country past the Granville Recreation Area and Sardine Saddle and HL Saddle Picnic Areas along an unforgettable road carved into the high ridge. Make sure to stop at one of the recreation areas for excellent views of the area.  

Next up, things get exciting with a narrow switchback section down into a little draw, and soon after the trees give way to wide open country. Cruise past the Upper and Lower Juan Miller recreation areas to hit a stretch of open desert. More riding thrills await when you climb back into the hills. Once you pass Hogtrail Saddle, get ready for another climb to higher elevation alongside a high mountain in the area. You'll see the Adbar Trail Fourteen pull off once you finish the climb. Snake back down into the Blue Range, and consider a stop at the rest area as you've still got a ways to go until Alpine. Gear up for some legendary twisty roads at the base of Blue Peak on the next section, and stop to see the oddity known as The Arrow Tree. Roll on through Hannagan Meadow to follow Hannagan Creek for a stretch. As you near Alpine, you'll meet up with Coleman Creek through Prime Canyon. Once in Alpine, take a well-needed break after that epic section. Grab some lunch at Foxfire at Alpine after taking a right onto Highway 180. When you're all fueled up, stay on Highway 180 south along the San Francisco River past Luna Lake.  

Once you cross the New Mexico border, head into Luna, NM and then south into the Gila National Forest to see more mountainous country on Highway 180. Off to the west, Aspen Mountain is visible at 8980 ft. and Black Bull Peak is farther south at 8361 ft. To the east, you'll see Prairie Peak at 8335 ft. Thread through a short stretch of canyon at the base of Prairie Peak to continue on. Stay on Highway 180 through Rancho Grande Estates, NM, and there is another solid lunch spot here in The Adobe Cafe & Bakery. Outside of town, more stunning vistas await as you pass by Gordon and Martinez Canyon. Ride between Saliz Hill and Brushy Mountains HP up to Saliz Pass, and stop at the pull off on your right to take in the beauty of the valley. Once finished, head back down into another section of flat country as you meet back up with the San Francisco River. When you reach Alma, NM, consider taking a detour east to see the Catwalk Recreation Area. This short hiking trail offers stunning views of the narrow canyon along Whitewater Creek. The majority of the hiking trail is set on a catwalk above the rushing waters below.

Back on the route, head into Glenwood, NM to begin the last section of this loop in New Mexico. Off to the west, you'll see a series of high mountain peaks including Nabours, Holt and Sheridan Mountain. Pass through Pleasanton, NM and ride the valley until you link up with Highway 78. Cruise through Mule Creek, NM and back over into Arizona. After you pass Black Jack Campground, get ready for another engaging section as you descend into the canyon through some big sweeping turns. Back in the desert, head past the airport and through Three Way, AZ as Highway 78 turns into 191 or the southern section of the Coronado Trail. Here you'll cross over the Gila River and encounter another stretch of open desert. Hang a left onto Highway 70 east towards Duncan, AZ. Once in town, you'll link back up with the Gila River for the last part of this ride. Stop at the Ranch House for some small town cooking if you're hungry. Then cross over the river on Highway 75 to follow the Gila River back north through York, AZ to Three Way. You can either head back to Morenci to complete the loop, or take Highway 191 back towards Phoenix to finish the day.    

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There are some steep shoulders on the Coronado Trail Byway.
You'll be able to see Round Valley along the Coronado Trail.
Take a short detour to Whitewater Creek to cool off by the water.

Desert Mountain Horseshoe Loop

Tackle rural desert roads on this six hour horseshoe loop north of the Phoenix metro area. You'll need an ADV / dual sport bike for this route as it takes place primarily on dirt roads. You can do this loop either out of Carefree, AZ or Lake Pleasant, although we'll start in Carefree this time around. Before you head out, fuel up with breakfast at Black Mountain Coffee Shop & Cafe in Carefree. Then take East Cave Creek Road up to Tonto Hills to begin the route. You'll pass by Blue Wash Trailhead and the Sears-Kay Ruins along the way as the road becomes Seven Springs Road. The Sears-Kay site showcases the remains of a Hohokam Tribe village from the early 1000s. You can see the old stone foundations from several former compounds in the area on a short hike. Moving on, head up north into the Tonto National Forest through some easy switchbacks and winding turns to reach the Camp Creek valley. Once through the valley, you'll pass by Bronco Trailhead. The road turns to the west as you ride through Mashakattee Canyon and the town of Seven Springs, AZ. Keep on Seven Springs Road as it winds back north past the Cave Creek Trailhead. When you reach the fork with Big Maggie May Trail, stay right to keep on the route.

More remote desert country awaits as the road becomes Cave Creek Road again. Get ready for a fun section ahead as you hit an incline section along the side of a high plateau. Up next, you'll wind through a small canyon past the Pine Mountain Wilderness. Down in the valley Cave Creek Road ends, and you'll take a left onto Forest Road 269. Prepare for more unbelievable scenery as you dip down along Hutch Gulch Creek and climb up a nearby bluff. Cruise along a high ridge and marvel at the steep road up the mountain that lies ahead. Once you've completed the switchbacks and you're on top, don't forget to pull off and look back down at the valley below. Ride on into a stretch of high desert towards Interstate 17. Cross over Indian Creek and continue on as the road runs parallel with the interstate until it eventually crosses under towards Cordes, AZ. At the intersection, turn left on Antelope Creek Road to head south. Stay right at the fork in the road to take Crown King Road / Highway 59 towards Cleator, AZ and the Prescott National Forest. There is a little dive called the Cleator Bar & Yacht Club in town where you can stop and get a drink.

After a pit stop at the Yacht Club, stay on Highway 59 as you ride along Middleton Creek through Muldoon Gulch. The terrain becomes mountainous again as you climb up a long, dramatic pair of switchbacks into higher country. Descend over the ridge and back down into Crown King for a much-needed break with smoked brisket at the Crown King Saloon or steaks at The Mill. There are a few quick turns to pay attention to south of town. Take a right onto Senator Highway followed by a left onto Orobelle Road / Forest Road 192. Cruise through the old ghost town of Bradshaw City, AZ, and stop to check out the historic Bradshaw City Cemetery. Gear up for a steep section and more scenic views south of Bradshaw City. At the fork in the road, stay right to ride the road in the middle until it links up with Forest Road 192 down into the valley. Hang a right at the bottom of the valley, and then take the hard left at a fork in the road onto Forest Road 711. In this next section, you'll ride along Tiger Creek through several scenic desert gulches.

Take a left at Jones Gulch to head towards the old Fort Misery site. This fort was established in the late 1800s to protect local miners from Indian raids. South of Fort Misery, Forest Road 711 becomes Crown King Trail as you cross Silver Creek. More remote country awaits, and stay on the Crown King Trail until you reach the intersection with Cow Creek Road. Take a left and trek several miles more through the desert until you reach Castle Hot Spring Road. Hang a left at this intersection to ride towards Lake Pleasant. This 11 square mile lake is like an oasis in the desert, and after all that dry country, you might want to stop and take a load off by the lake. There are several side roads along the way that offer access to the shoreline. Of particular note is Lake Pleasant Regional Park, and aside from several camping areas, there is swimming available at Two Cow Cove. Finish up the route south of the lake at Highway 74 that will take you back to Highway 17.

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Leave the Phoenix metro area for the desert hills on this ride.
Riding the Sonoran Desert is a one-of-a-kind experience. (source)
You'll pass the Fort Misery historic site on the second half of the ride. (source)
This long loop finishes up at the banks of Lake Pleasant. (source)

"You don't stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding."
― Anonymous

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