With Tucson being ranked as one of the best U.S. cycling cities by Bicycling magazine, you know that you’ll find incredible bike trails in the area that cover hundreds of miles and range from easy to expert. The ideal climate and sunny skies mean that both casual riders and those training for competitions can get out, exercise and enjoy the beautiful Tucson desert scenery any time of the year regardless whether mountain biking or road cycling is preferred.
Tour of the Tucson Mountains – This street bike tour offered in April provides courses around the mountains of Tucson that range from 27 to 73 miles. All courses are generally flat and provide exhilarating views of the Tucson Mountains and desert scenery.
Catalina Highway – Muscle building is the name of the game on this 26-mile street bike trail. Riders spend 2 grueling hours peddling up the 5% grade hill that begins at the desert floor and ascends to Mount Lemmon’s 6,000 foot summit. Once Mt. Lemmon has been conquered, riders can enjoy a relaxing cruise down the other side of the mountain and even hit exhilarating speeds of 40 mph in certain spots.
Oracle Road – If you’re looking for a mix, the Oracle Road route offers both gentle, rolling slopes and occasional steep climbs. The route begins at the intersection of River Road and Oracle Road and climbs steadily upwards through the small town of Oro Valley. Bikers can stop anywhere along Oracle Road, turn around and enjoy the downhill ride past the beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains.
McCain Loop – This popular biking route allows riders to gaze upon the beauty of Tucson’s downtown area, the majestic scenes of Tucson Mountain Park and the towering saguaro cacti of the Saguaro National Park. The route begins at the University of Arizona, proceeds through the beautiful Gates Pass, winds through the Saguaro National Park, and passes along the flat roads at the base of the Tucson Mountains.
Fantasy Island Trail* – Riders of all levels can enjoy this series of trails which loop through the east-central portion of Tucson.
Catalina State Park* – Various trail systems are available for all skill levels in the Oro Valley section of the park.
Starr Pass Trail – Popular with all levels of bikers.
Sweetwater Trail – Popular with all levels of bikers.
Chiva Falls Trail – Both speed and technical challenges are provided along this 7-mile trail which lies in the Rincon Mountains.
Santa Catalina Mountains* – Various challenging trails exist here which provide expert training for improving technical mountain bike skills. Consider these trails: Bug Springs, Molino Basin, Aspen Draw, and Green Mountain.
Brown Mountain Loop – This 8.2-mile trail is for seasoned cyclists since it contains steep climbs and dangerous descents.
La Milagrosa – This is the most difficult mountain bike trail in Tucson which lies off of the 800-mile Arizona Trail that runs from Utah to Mexico.
*A State Land Recreational Permit is required to ride on State Trust land.
El Tour de Tucson – This Tucson street bike race takes place each November, covers 110 miles and attracts over 9,000 riders. Easier, shorter courses are offered for less skilled riders.
Cochise County Cycling Classic – Held in the fall, bikers can choose to take courses which are 45, 92, or 157 miles long and wind through scenic southwestern Arizona.
Fair Wheel Bikes Shootout Ride – Held every Saturday morning, the Shootout Ride pits top amateurs and seasoned professionals against one another. The ride begins at a leisurely pace until the outskirts of town when it transforms into a high-speed race. Winter months attract the most participants with up to 200 riders.