111.1 miles
13,425 ft
-13,429 ft
1 mile
High Point

Although most of this route is well traveled, be prepared for backcountry conditions.

This loop is best ridden in a CW direction. Start/Finish is a small parking pullout on First Water rd just north of the Lost Dutchman State Park.

This ride can be done as a really long one day adventure or an overnight bikepack, camping at Middle Water spring (one mile down the north side of Four Peaks on El Oso rd)

There's only about 10 miles of singletrack on this route, 65 miles on dirt road & 35 on pavement. This ride is also best done on a weekday to avoid tourist traffic and dust on the dirt roads.

This ride starts in the beautiful Goldfield Mtns on primitive singletrack and jeep roads. Pavement takes you over to Saguaro Lake at Butcher Jones recreation area. A series of sandy, but rideable OHV roads link up to Four Peaks rd. This is a well traveled and somewhat maintained dirt road with some steep bits. El Oso rd is a graded dirt road that will drop down into the Tonto Basin. Seven miles of fast pavement bring you to FR429 where the climbing resumes up to Mills Ridge and the Arizona Trail. Singletrack returns for 5 miles on great ridgeline riding followed by some hike-a-bike. The payoff is panoramic views of Apache Lake, then Roosevelt Lake & Dam. The trail descends steeply to AZ188 where it crosses the Roosevelt Bridge. From here it's all AZ88, Apache Trail, back to your vehicle. The first 20 miles or so are on undulating dirt roads, then pavement leading into Tortilla Flat and finally Canyon Lake.

Bring lights, front & rear. Bring a water filter. If you're lucky enough to pass by the Roosevelt Lake Marina & Tortilla Flat during business hours food can be purchased. Otherwise carry enough to get you through.

Detailed Description
Chain of Lakes Loop is a 111 mile popular expert route located near Apache Junction Arizona. This mountain bike only route can be used one direction and has a hard overall physical rating. This route includes 6 trails. This route climbs 13,425 ft with a max elevation of 5,773 ft then descends -13,429 ft.
Local Trail Association
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Superstition Area Land Trust (www.azsalt.org)
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7 Reviews & Comments

  • + 1
80085 (Jan 18, 2022 at 19:21)
I climbed up FS429 to the end. There is a parking lot there, to the right you'll follow the AZT and the actual Four Peaks trail (until you hit the wilderness, I guess). This trail is to the left and labeled, "VINEYARD TR. 131." If you have low enough gearing, no HAB, I did not hit my pedals once on the uphill chunk. It's all fairly even with a few step ups and rolly rocks. That said, I pedaled the whole thing BUT I did have to stop and catch my breath a few times when the steep chunk got steeper. If you can pedal up the steep parts of 429 you can pedal up the chunk. Add really good endurance to the NO HAB claim too. Smile This trail is raw, and definitely not built for MTB's. The downhill was sketchy as there are MANY loose rocks to surf in and not much of it's a straight away. It all seemed flowy somehow though. Lastly, it's a very unique trail, fairly fun and I am glad I rode it.
  • + 0
shicar (Jan 26, 2020 at 15:11)
This was a nice find. Definitely horse built, but had a nice downhill.
  • + 1
gregval (Jan 14, 2020 at 16:06)
Just so riders are aware, this whole area of trails seems to be mostly horse trails. They don't seem to be "purpose-built", but look to be "social" horse trails, that a mtn biker found and listed here. The whole area seems like that, although we bailed after about 5 miles.
While much of it is pretty good (little horse damage, but bumpy), there are routes down through washes that are pretty messed up with the horse hooves.
SO, certainly not a great ride; much better purpose-built trails in the PHX area.
  • + 0
jeffgicklhorn SDMB (May 9, 2019 at 22:07)
Fun flowy and at times downright steep downhills, with some short climbing and hike a bike in the middle. Worth the steep climb up the dirt road to the top.
  • + 0
jeffgicklhorn SDMB (May 9, 2019 at 21:40)
Trail FR 429
Quite the uphill slog, sitting in your granny gear most of the way up. Worth it to descend the segment of the AZT.
  • + 0
TC-FLOWCLYDE (Mar 23, 2019 at 20:53)
WW is a nice, short add-on to climb to Goldfield's golden lichen covered slopes.
  • + 0
tvgfox (Dec 8, 2017 at 12:11)
Seems like I was the first biker in years to ride this trail. Very peaceful lots of cactus pretty views.


  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Route Type
  • Bike type
  • Direction
    One Direction
  • Physical rating
  • Ridelogs
More Stats for Chain of Lakes Loop mountain bike route
  • Altitude min
    1,382 ft
  • Altitude start
    2,062 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,057 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    51 miles
  • Distance down
    51 miles
  • Distance flat
    8 miles
Avg: 4.65 (3 votes)
Trail Conditions
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Recent Trail Reports Along Route

AZT/BP - Around the Mine
Sep 5, 2022 @ 7:36am
Sep 5, 2022
Large homeless camp. You can barely walk through they are so crowded together with tents, vans and motor homes.
AZT/BP - Foothills Trail
Jun 26, 2022 @ 5:42am
Jun 26, 2022
AZT - Vineyard Mountain
Jan 18, 2022 @ 6:47pm
Jan 18, 2022
Grass is leaning into the trail making for an interesting ride. As the previous person said, "only while going fast." If you're enjoying the scenery its fine. Oh wait, if you go slow, you still need to look at the trail for the most part and not the scenery. Nevermind. See review.
FR 429
Mar 27, 2021 @ 7:36am
Mar 27, 2021
Dirt road in fairly good condition and with some awesome views
AZT/BP - Weaver's Way
Mar 1, 2019 @ 6:11am
Mar 1, 2019
more reports »
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