Mountain Bike Trails
Some of Tucson's best trails selected for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.
Get ready to shred. With these selected trails there's a little something for everyone. And watch the video below for some tips from one of our hometown MTB pros, Todd Wells!
Video: Tucson Pro-Tips with Todd Wells
The Chuck Huckelberry Loop is a 100% family-friendly system of car-free paths that surround Tucson allowing for riders to almost completely circumnavigate the city. Most paths are paved but there are certain opportunities to get in the dirt and it allows for a fun way to get just about anywhere in town on your bike without having to worry about those pesky things we call cars. Basically, If you can ride a bike, then you can ride The Loop. Just remember this is a shared-use path so watch your speed and keep an eye out for walkers, runners, and even horses!
Fantasy Island is a trail system in east-central Tucson built from a series of interconnected loops that provide fun no matter your level. However, we place it in the beginner category because less-experienced riders can enjoy this system without the worries that come along with some of Tucson's more advanced trails. It's close to town, well-traveled and has only a few sections that could be considered even remotely "technical".
Click Here for a map of Fantasy Island.
NOTE: Fantasy island is on state trust land and requires a permit and certain trails may be closed or re-routed at this time. Check the map and go to Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists website for more info.
The Sweetwater Preserve is a great series of loop trails on Tucson’s western edge that can be enjoyed by just about any level of rider with well-maintained trails and beautiful scenery. This area can satisfy both beginners who want a bit of a challenge or experienced riders who are looking for a more relaxed day in the saddle. Bordered by Saguaro National Park West these trails provide a perfect way to experience supreme desert riding without venturing too far outside of the city.
Click Here for a map of the Sweetwater Preserve.
The 50 Year Trail System, northwest of Tucson near the towns of Oro Valley and Catalina, provides access to a wide variety of trails for riders of a more intermediate to advanced level. On segments like "Middlegate", you will find some of Tucson's best singletrack with just enough technical challenges to keep it interesting. And as a major bonus, riding here comes with some of the most picturesque desert scenery in the region. For some really fun, fast lines with steep berms try one of the area’s most popular segments, aptly named "The Chutes". This system can be accessed from Golder Ranch Rd. to the north or from Catalina State Park to the south. Note: A park entrance fee of $7 is required if you wish to park and ride in from Catalina State Park.
Click Here for a map of the 50 Year trail system.
The Starr Pass Trail System is one of the most popular places to ride in the Tucson area, with a good mix of technical, chunky rock sections and smooth single track riding. This is undoubtedly one of Tucson’s best and boasts plenty of loop segments that can be connected to the Tucson Mountain Park trail system to the north or to the equally fun Robles system to the south. If you happen to be staying at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort then access is just outside the door.
Click Here for a map of the Starr Pass main trail.
Pistol Hill trail is a beautiful out and back stretch of the Arizona Trail that meanders through the foothills of the Rincon Mountains and through the picturesque Colossal Cave Mountain Park on Tucson's eastside. This ride provides rolling crosscountry singletrack with just a few techy sections and a big climb near the middle.
Click Here for a map of the Pistol Hill trail.
Mt Lemmon is the crown jewel of Tucson's MTB scene, offering multiple steep, technical trails and the challenge of higher altitudes at the start. This wonderland of trails is unlike anything else in Arizona, allowing riders to go from pine trees to saguaros in one day. In traversing a large portion of Coronado National Forest, riders can experience the full range of diversity that the Tucson landscape has to offer. These trails are a must for advanced riders in search of a challenge. Highly recommended are Aspen Draw, Bug Springs, and the epic backcountry of the Cañada del Oro (CDO) trail.
Click Here for a map of Mt Lemmon Trails.
NOTE: Mt Lemmon Trails are for advanced riders only and may require a shuttle and/or guide service. Check with our partners Home Grown MTB and visit the Tucson Off-Road Cyclists and Activists (TORCA) website before you go.
Ridgeline trail in the Tortolita Mountains treats riders to steep technical climbing with the reward of some incredible views. With this trail serious riders can go all out for an awesome adventure that is easily accessed from the nearby town of Oro Valley.
Click Here for a map of the Ridgeline trail.
Brown Mountain trail is another popular option for more advanced riders but offers a shorter trip, clocking in at just under 5 miles. This trail can be ridden as a loop and is located in the previously mentioned Tucson Mountain Park. Because of the proximity to other trails and local attractions, it is is pretty well traveled and may require the occasional yield to hikers. If you are looking for a technical challenge and a wonderful example of desert riding, look no further.
Click Here for a map of the Brown Mountain trail.
Bonus: Those in search of a truly hardcore bike-packing odyssey can take on the challenge of The Arizona Trail, an epic 800-mile route that stretches from the Mexico border all the way to Utah (mostly ridden north-to-south). Some of the most beautiful and fun sections of the AZT wind just around the outskirts of Tucson making it easy to access and experience some choice segments even if you don't have the extra vacation days needed to take down the whole thing. Visit the Arizona Trail Association website for more info.
*The trails mentioned here can be dangerous! If you are uncertain about your ability to ride a specific trail, check in with one of the local advocacy groups to get more information or seek out a local guide. Also, please be aware that many of the trails mentioned here are multi-use, so look out for horses and hikers, and no matter where you ride, always remember to be kind and share the trail!
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