Trail 100

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 11 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 1531 - 1642 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Mountain View Park
Fee: none
Attractions: Challenging singletrack




Trail 100, aka, the Charles M. Christiansen Memorial trail, is located in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona. The 11 mile long trail begins at Mountain View Park where it travels between North Mountain and Shaw Butte before passing under North 7th Street. From there it courses its way through another section of the Preserve, passes beneath Cave Creek Road and the Piestewa Freeway, (Highway 51) to the Dreamy Draw Area. From Dreamy Draw Trail 100 winds its way over and around the hills to the Piestewa Peak area where it keeps going until it ends at the Tatum Blvd. Trailhead.


To complete the entire trail from end to end the best trailhead to begin at is in Mountain View Park at 9901 North 7th Avenue. The Tatum Blvd. trailhead at 8774 North Tatum Blvd. only has enough parking spaces for a handful of vehicles. A person could, of course, leave a vehicle at Mountain View Park and have someone drop them off at Tatum Blvd and do the trail in one direction going from east to west.


It isn't at all obvious how to find where the trail starts at Mountain View Park but the jist of it is to follow the sidewalk between the north parking area and the large open grassy field to the signs in this photo where you can continue on the gravely trail that heads off in the direction of North Mountain. There is a map on one of the signs but we strongly urge that you print off a map of your own to take with you.


The first trail marker comes up a short distance from the park. These markers are almost crucial for staying on the correct route. Note that at the top of each marker it shows how far you have gone and your current position in relation to both ends of the trail. The elevation profile is a good indicator of the terrain that lies ahead.


There are far too many interconnecting trails, both marked and unmarked, over the course of the 11 miles to describe them all but if you are carrying a map the ones that are marked make good reference points.


Other good reference points are the tunnels where the trail passes under the major roads along the way. The tunnels are large enough for horses although the rider may need to dismount.


The surface of the trail varies a lot with some nice long stretches that are mostly smooth and other places where the ground is uneven and rocky. Just past the Lookout Mountain Connector there is one particularly rocky uphill section that climbs up to a ridge where everything gets easy again. Most people are taking an unmarked connector that bypasses this stretch of trail.


Even though the trail is never a great distance from homes or highways there are places that don't get very many people and have a more remote feeling. Typically, if you are within a mile of a trailhead there are a lot of hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. In other places though you might not see another person.


Once the trail starts approaching the Dreamy Draw area of the Preserve the scenery seems to become much more appealing as the rugged mountains and rock formations around Piestewa Peak start coming into view.


In the area that is north of Piestewa Peak the landscape is more open and levels off somewhat. There are still lots of small washes to cross but the steeper hills and mountain passes are over. There are also quite a few unmarked routes throughout the area that can lead to confusion when it comes to route finding.


The last major intersections that come up are with Trail 8, aka the Y. V. Yates trail, and a very popular unmarked trail that leads up to the summit of Dixie Peak. Both of those intersections are within a half mile of the 40th Street trailhead where there is a restroom.


The trail finishes up after 11 miles by passing through a garden corridor in a residential area that leads it out to the Tatum Blvd. trailhead. To get a better idea of what Trail 100 is like we strongly suggest viewing the slideshow at the end of this post. When we took the photos we were on our mountain bikes and the Tatum Blvd. trailhead was only the halfway point as we turned around there and retraced the route back in the other direction for a total distance of 22 miles. Most people on Trail 100 are only doing a particular section and not the entire trail. Besides the physical demands of doing the complete trail there is the problem of carrying enough fluid to keep hydrated. We suggest carrying more water than what you think you will need and to refill all your containers at the trailheads that have restrooms with drinking water. If you are looking for a challenge and would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.