Hike | Sidewinder Trail | Phoenix


Trail Stats

  • Distance:  6.98 miles (one way: from one trailhead to the other)
  • Type of Trail: Out and Back with possible loop options
  • Rating:  Moderate
  • Available parking: Yes, at the Apache Wash Trailhead (1600 E Sonoran Desert Dr) and the Desert Hills Trailhead (705 W Carefree Hwy).
  • Trailhead Elevation: 1,750 ft.
  • Elevation gain:  263 ft.
  • Water availability: NO WATER AVAILABLE at either trailhead
  • Restroom availability:  Yes, there are restrooms available at both trailheads

Trail Description

The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve has been implemented since 2009. This preserve area has 54 miles of trails, beautiful scenery, and enhances the City of Phoenix’s natural environment.  The Sidewinder Trail lies in the northern section of the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, and is a tough hike with rewarding views.

              To hike the Sidewinder Trail, you can start at one of two trailheads, Apache Wash or Desert Hills. Take careful note that the trail is a destination style hike, not a loop, and that it is 6.98 miles from one trailhead to the other. Therefore, to hike the Sidewinder Trail out and back, it is a total of 13.96 miles. With that said, it is one of the most fun, engaging, and well-loved trails in the Sonoran Preserve.

              The Sidewinder Trail is abundant with trail runners, mountain bikers, and exercise groups. This trail is like a thrill ride; for every step you take downhill you will eventually complete it with a climb, and for every sweeping turn to the right there will be a wild curve to the left. Traditionally, this trail was designed, very well, for mountain bikers but it has all kinds of trail users. As a caution, remember to follow trail etiquette by yielding to the proper party and communicate audibly with all users when your paths meet.

The trail can be hiked from either the north or south trailhead and there are options to loop with the Ocotillo Trail.  The Sidewinder Trail is one of its toughest hikes and we advise that you honestly evaluate your overall physical fitness level before trekking up this trail. 

Map to Trailhead

This map indicates the North Trailhead.


Gallery of Sidewinder Trail

* Please remember to hike at your own risk. To learn more please refer to our Hiking Disclaimer