Best Bike Rides in Scottsdale

Best bike rides in Scottsdale

For those that like to visit both California and Arizona on the same trip (like me!), I thought I would share my biking experiences in Scottsdale. Scottsdale is a great place to do some road biking. During the winters I’ve visited Scottsdale a number of times. The weather is great, the temperatures generally are not too hot (though one week did get above 90 degrees in March).  Even if it does get really hot, it’s usually quite a bit cooler in the morning so you can still get out and enjoy a great ride. I find Scottsdale very bike friendly, there are a number of bike paths and designated bike lanes, and I find the drivers in Scottsdale fairly accommodating for cyclists.  Some of the best bike rides in Scottsdale are near to downtown, and there are also some great rides heading north from Scottsdale.

Where to Stay When Biking in Scottsdale

I’ve stayed in a number of places in Scottsdale. I’ve stayed in north Scottsdale, and other times I’ve stayed closer to downtown. My preference is to stay closer to downtown as I like to ride in and around the Camelback and Mummy mountains, and the area downtown also has a number of easier rides on nicely paved paths dedicated to walkers and riders. I suggest staying in the area, closer to downtown, perhaps near the Arizona Canal which has a great bike path that can take you to a number of great areas.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite bike rides in the Scottsdale area. I like the challenge of some climbing, so some of these routes are fairly challenging, but I will start out with a couple of easier / flatter rides for those people looking for some easy cruising. I have these Scottsdale Cycling Routes saved in Strava, so if you are a Strava member and actually want the Route file just let me know (via a comment below) and I can send it along.

Best Bike Rides In Scottsdale – Route  #1 – Scottsdale Arizona Canal Bike Path Ride – 25 kilometers

This is a great ride to get acquainted with Scottsdale and some of the downtown area. The Arizona Canal flows through the middle of Scottsdale and has pretty good bike paths on both sides. Some sections are very small gravel, but most of the ride is on paved path. In general, there is no need to deal with any traffic, as you are on a dedicated multipurpose path. The scenery along the canal is great. This is roughly a twenty kilometer ride and should take you about an hour.

Arizona Canal Bike Path- One of the Best Cycling Routes in Scottsdale
Arizona Canal Bike Path
Scottsdale Arizona Canal Bicycle path cycling
Strava Cycling Map – Along the Arizona Canal

You can start this ride in a number of different areas along the canal. In this case I started around North 56th Street. Get on the bike path on the south side of the canal. Start riding north / east on the path. You will pass through some of the downtown area just before the path crosses East Camelback Rd. At Camelback Rd, cross the canal and take the path on the north side of the canal. Continue on the path all the way until the canal temporarily ends around the Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club. The path veers off into a number of directions here. This is a good turnaround point. Now head back along the canal back home.

View of Mountains from Arizona Canal

Route  #2 – East Sonoran Desert Dr to Anthem – 40 kilometers

One of the best bike rides in Scottsdale because of the classic desert views! This is a ride I found a few years ago when I was staying further north in Scottsdale. It’s also a flat ride, but you can add some hills if you go further into Anthem. Here you’ll be riding a quiet paved bike path through the desert until you get to Anthem. The views are spectacular.

Best Cycling Routes in Scottsdale - East Sonoran Desert Bike Path
Bike Path near Apache Wash Parking

There are a number of different places to start this ride, but I like to park at the Apache Wash Trailhead parking lot and head out from there. The Apache Wash Trailhead also offers some great hiking if you have some time.

One of Scottsdale Best Cycling Routes
Ride to Anthem from E Sonoran Desert Dr

From the parking lot head back towards the road and take the bike path heading west on the north side of E Sonoran Desert Dr, which becomes E Dove Valley Road. If you are looking for a longer ride, first head east on the bike path along E Sonoran Desert Dr until it ends and then double back to the Apache Wash Trail parking and then continue on this ride.

Scottsdale Bike Path
Great Views on Bike Path Along E Sonoran Desert Dr

Continue west on the bike path until it ends near the housing developments off W Dove Valley Road. Here stay on W Dove Valley Road until it intersects with North Valley Parkway. Turn right and go north here for a short time and then turn right again on North 27th Dr and take this to the Carefree Highway. Turn left on Carefree Highway for a very short stretch and then turn right and go north on North Valley Parkway which eventually turns into N Gavilian Peak Parkway and leads you into Anthem. I usually ride up a little past the Anthem Community Park and then turn around and come back.

Best Cycling Rides in Scottsdale  #3 – Mummy Mountain Ride – 25 kilometers

Ok here is a ride for people that love to climb hills. The added benefit of this ride is that it has some spectacular views of the Scottsdale / Phoenix area and also of the mountain itself. The homes on the mountain are pretty spectacular also. These are the homes of the rich and famous.

Mummy Mountain Strava Hill Profile
Scottsdale Best Cycling - Mummy Mountain
Mummy Mountain Strava Route

I usually start and end my ride near the corner of N Scottsdale Rd and E Indian Bend Rd. To begin ride west toward the mountain on E Indian Bend Rd. Then turn left on N Mockingbird Ln, and then right on East Lincoln. Your first hill awaits! Turn right on North Invergordon Rd and take it to the top (or as far as you can go).

Mummy Mountain - Scottsdale Cycling Route
Beautiful Views on Mummy Mountain

Now let’s head for the second hill. Come back on Invergordon then turn left on E Cactus Wren, right on N 62nd, and then left on E Indian Bend Rd. Make a slight right on N 59th Pl and head to the top via E Glen Dr which becomes E Upper Glen. This is the highest elevation point on the ride so enjoy the views!

Mummy Mountain Cycling - Best Cycling Routes in Scottsdale
Mummy Mountain Views from the Top

I won’t bother to give all the directions, but the highlights on the other side of the mountain in terms of climbs are E Roadrunner Rd, N Mohave Rd to NSeguero Rd, and N Hummingbird Lan to E Hummingbird Lane. As mentioned I have a Strava Route for this ride and am happy to share it. After this climb I exit back down E Hummingbird Ln to Scottsdale Rd.

Best Bike Rides In Scottsdale – Route  #4 – Tour of Camelback Ride – 33 kilometers

This ride is very similar to the Mummy Mountain Ride. A lot of hills to climb, and a lot of great views. But this ride around Camelback Mountain is a little longer and has a little more total elevation.

Cycling the Hills of Camelback Mountain
Strava Route – Cycling the Hills of Camelback Mountain

I also start this ride from N Scottsdale Rd. I take E Chapparal Rd to enter the mountain. Turn right on N Invergordon Rd, then turn left on E Cholla Ln. This is the first hill and a good warmup. The head back down and go over a block to E Sage Dr. Enjoy the ride to the top of this street, it’s short but steep with grade of 14% near the top.

View of Camelback Mountain

Wind your way through the neighborhood or take E MacDonald Dr. The first destination is N Superstition Ln which has a nice run up. Next head a few blocks over and take a run up N 54th St to N 52 Pl.

On the west side of the mountain you can take E Arlington Rd up to N Camelback Canyon Dr. Take this as far as it goes.

Now we move over to the south side of the mountain. Here you will find the most challenging climbs. From E Camelback Rd, turn left on N Camelback Rd, the turn right on E White Gates Rd. Turn left on N Cliffside Dr and continue left on E Red Rock Dr. This will take you to the top and is the biggest climb of the day. The grade near the top is about 15%. If you want an even more challenging ride take Red Rock to the top in the opposite direction, the grade here approaches 20%! The view from the top is spectacular.

Camelback Mountain - Best Cycling Routes in Scottsdale
View from the top looking down on approach from E Red Rock Dr

For your last climb take Red Rock down and find your way over to E Valle Vista Rd. After finishing that climb, you can connect to N 56th St and back to E Camelback Rd.

Route  #5 – Ride to Fountain Hills – 101 kilometers

One of the best bike rides in Scottsdale for people that enjoy a nice four to five hour ride. The route starts along the Arizona Canal as described in Route #1, but then continues to Fountain Hills and slightly beyond. There is one large hill that rises gradually and then more sharply as you get to Fountain Hills. You then climb the hill again on the way back. So in total it’s a good 700 meters of climbing.

Scottsdale Best Cycling - Fountain Hills
Ride to Fountain Hills from Arizona Canal

Follow the directions given in Route #1 along the Arizona Canal until you hit the Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club. Even though the Arizona Canal path ends here, a good part of the remaining ride is also on dedicated paved pathways. When you arrive at the golf club get off the Arizona Canal trail and follow the path on the north side of the golf course until you hit N Hayden Rd. Then take the path along N Hayden Rd north. At E McCormick Parkway I turn left. Follow the trail on the right side of the road and follow the trail as it turns right along the golf course. Follow this path until it reconnects with N Hayden Rd. Follow the trail as it parallels N Hayden, and then goes under N Hayden Rd. Follow the path until it connects with E Mountain View Rd. This is where the path ends, so take the bike lane on E Mountain View Rd and stay on the road as it veers right. Continue until you hit E Via Linda, turn left on this road and continue to E Shea Blvd.

Scottsdale bike to Fountain Hills
Ride to Fountain Hills

You can ride the path on the north side of E Shea Blvd if you don’t want to ride on the road. Stay on E Shea Blvd for a while, it starts to go uphill here. here you start to feel like you are leaving the big city and heading towards the quieter mountain area. When you get to N Palisades Blvd turn left and continue into Fountain Hills. In Fountain Hills turn left on N Fountain Hills Blvd which turns into E McDowell Mountain Rd. Continue along this road until you feel like turning around! Then head home the same way you came.

As mentioned, if you want the Strava Routes, just put a comment in the comment section with your email and I will send them to you. Hope you enjoyed the rides! If you are hading to California, check out the Best Cycling Rides in San Diego post.

66 thoughts on “Best Bike Rides in Scottsdale

  1. These are awesome – already tried two and love them. Thanks for the great article. Would you mind sending me the routes?

  2. Please send me the strava maps for Scottsdale bike paths.
    I am new to all of this – is Strava an app to use with these maps you mention? Or are there other apps to import the maps to?
    Love the article!

    1. Hi Neil, thanks for the feedback. Strava is a phone app that can be used to record a ride with GPS. It is also a site where people upload their rides so they can see how they did. It shows your times for certain segments etc. You can share all this with friends on Strava with pictures etc. I will send you the routes, but you will need Strava to see them, registration is free at

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for the very helpful article, I am planning a trip out to Scottsdale in December and would love to try them, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send me the routes.

    All the best!

  4. My team is coming down from Minnesota on November 10-14 for a late fall training trip….can you please send me your strava routes….thank you…

    1. Ryan, November is a great time to get away from Minnesota for some rides in the sun. Lucky! I will forward the routes.

  5. I will be in Scottsdale this February for a solo mini camp to get away from the Chicago cold. Can you send me these routes? It would be so helpful to have some good climbs in the back pocket!

  6. Hi Charles
    This is so helpful and I really appreciate you taking the time to post these routes.
    Could you please send me the Strave routes as well? Thanks again.
    Jennifer Sullivan

  7. Would love to get your Strava maps for all Arizona rides. Will be there over the holidays and will be riding all over the state.

    Thanks – Eri

  8. Great article, thank you! Could you please send me the Strava routes?

    Considering retiring here in 20 years but want to get a head start. Golf and cycling has me sold!

  9. Hi,
    Nice post. I will be spending a few weeks in early January and am looking for some rides. Can you share the Strava routes? Thinking of doing a ride out to Bartlett lake but can’t tell if there is a decent shoulder. Any insight about this ride?

    1. Hi David,
      I did take the ride partway out to Bartlett, but I didn’t like the road. Very small or no shoulder in my recollection. Also cars are traveling at pretty high speed. I think I have a partial route I could send you.

  10. Thanks! I’m assuming you are the one who sent me the Strava routes. I’m looking forward to checking them out.

  11. any chance you have gpx files for these routes? Regardless, thanks for the article. How are wind conditions typically in March?

    1. Hi Bob.

      I don’t have the gpx, but if you have Strava you could download the gpx from the routes. I have not experienced any serious winds when I was there. Heat is the only thing I was worried about!

  12. Thanks for this article. I’m in Scottsdale for the winter and would really appreciate having these routes. Thanks again.

  13. Routes look great. Please send me links to the Strava files – looking forward to a week in Scottsdale.

  14. My husband and I are traveling to Scottsdale in 5 days. Please send me the routes. Can these routes be used in the free version of Strava?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    1. Hi Penny,

      I’m not sure about using it in the free version. I know Strava have changed some of their policies in the last year. I used to download the routes to either i) Strava on my iPhone, or ii) my Garmin device. Enjoy the rides!

  15. I really enjoyed your article and would really like to request your route files to prepare for the cycling trip to Scottsdale that my wife and I are planning for next March/April. The courses look varied and interesting, and we look forward to exploring them on our e-assist Hawthorne tandem.

    1. Hi – I don’t know if you received my earlier request for the Scottsdale bike route files described in your excellent article. Now our trip to Scottsdale is upon us (we plan to arrive on Tuesday, February 14th) and I just realized that we didn’t hear back from you. Would it be possible for you to send the route files to my e-mail address? The address is:

      My wife and I are looking forward to exploring the Scottsdale area on our Hawthorne e-assist tandem. We have been riding and touring on tandems for 37 years.

      Thank you,
      Tim and Francine Webb

  16. Hi there! Thanks for sharing these rides. Would love to access your Strava routes so I can use them for navigation. Thanks in advance 🙂

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