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Loving the Loop

Car-free paths, mountain views, fresh air – what’s not to love about Tucson’s riverbank path?

131 Car-free Miles

Ride, run, or walk on The Loop

Whether you’re ready for a workout or a ramble, answer the call of the open road on The Loop in Tucson. 

With 131 miles of paved bike lanes and trails, The Loop is an urban trail system that connects parks, trailheads, bus and bike routes, hotels, restaurants, and retail and entertainment areas. The flat route flanks Pima County’s network of riverbeds, winding through natural habitat and offering scenic mountain views. There’s no beginning and no end – you can enter at any designated point along The Loop. 

The Loop is closed to motorized vehicles, so cyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians enjoy greater freedom to roam – it is also friendly to leashed dogs. So, bring a friend or your family and loop the loop daily, from dawn to dusk.


Video: Loop Completion Celebration

How did The Loop get started? It was born as a flood-control project in the aftermath of disastrous floods in 1983. Dry most of the time, it pours sometimes, as they say, after heavy seasonal rains. The dirt walls alongside the Rillito, Pantano and Santa Cruz riverbeds were reinforced and, at the same time, access roads were built along the banks to make maintenance easier. 

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

In a seemingly accidental win/win situation, inspiration struck and these paths were expanded to create a massive network of paths making for one continuous stretch that in March 2018 was completed with 131 miles. The system connects the communities of Oro Valley, Marana, Tucson, and South Tucson.

Besides the fact that it’s awesome to have a bunch of trails to ride without the drama of dealing with cars, there’s also a community aspect to the Loop. The Loop connects parks, BMX tracks, farmer’s markets and the city as a whole. Plus, on the Santa Cruz Riverside, at 3201 W. Diamond St., there’s The Loop Bicycle Shop, offering free coffee, a place to take a break and a full-service bike shop located in a shipping container. Only in Tucson, apparently.

For more on The Loop, check out its web page or their Ride the Loop Facebook page for frequent updates on happenings.

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