Southeast of Phoenix and west of Guadalupe, the 16,500 acre South Mountain Park is a vast and rugged riparian mountain range that is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve System. Keep an eye out for scorpions and desert tortoises near the saguaros!
From the Pima Canyon trailhead, a great 15 mile horseback riding loop can be formed by combining the National Trail heading westbound and the Desert Classic Trail for the eastbound return. The Telegraph Pass Trail connects the two trails.
The Pima Canyon (eastern) trailhead is NOT easy to find the first time. It is located west of Tempe and Guadalupe. Use Exit 155 off US10. Head west on Baseline Road briefly to Pointe Parkway East. Turn left on Pointe Parkway East and follow south parallel to US10. Just past (south of) Guadalupe Road, turn right heading west on South 48th Street. Look for South Mountain Park entrance immediately on the left (Pima Canyon Road). Turn left on Pima Canyon Road and follow to the end and park.
Overall, South Mountain Park is the 4th most popular horse trail of all 49 horseback rides in Arizona.