Top 10 Tucson Road Bike Rides

If you are coming to Tucson and want to get in some of the most beautiful and epic road bike rides, then look no further than our Tucson Top 10 Road Bike Rides!  Click on a link to read more about each ride.

10. Gates Pass, McCain Loop and Saguaro West

9. Oracle, Cody Loop and BioSphere

  • If you are looking for a steady moderate climb (~2% grade) then this ride is a treat - taking you north of Tucson through the towns of Oro Valley, Catalina and Oracle.  You can make a slight detour and check out BioSphere2!

8. Saddlebrook 

  • This is another 2-3 hour ride that takes you north out of Tucson and through Oro Valley and Catalina into the retirement community of Saddlebrook.

7. Sabino Canyon

6. The Loop

  • The Loop has been a 30+ year work in progress and work was finally completed in early 2018.  There are over 110 miles of car-free paths for cyclists and pedestrians.  This makes for an easy ride - but please be mindful of the runners and walkers on the path.  Tip - the north side of the path sees the most traffic (along the Rillito River) while the south side is almost deserted and makes for some great mind-free riding!

5. Shoot Out Route (Green Valley) and Madera Canyon

  • If you have come to Tucson to put yourself in the hurt locker then the Shoot Out is a must-do ride.  Happening EVERY Saturday, rain or shine, this organized group ride of 50-200+ riders will punish you - don't let the easy roll out of town fool you.  If you are looking for the same ride but a little more tame you can try the Old Man Shoot Out which leaves 15 min before the main group.  This is a great ride outside of the organized Saturday ride as well and takes you by some of the biggest open pit copper mines in the world.
  • If you want to throw on a some extra miles on this route, then tackle one of the big three mountain climbs - Madera Canyon.  This 2000 foot climb only gets steeper as you go so be ready!

4. Saguaro East and Colossal Cave

  • Saguaro National Park is divided into and East and West (separated by the entire city of Tucson).  Saguaro East requires payment to enter while Saguaro West does not.  However, Saguaro East is one of the funnest rides you will ever do and is well worth admission. The 8-mile one-way loop takes 25-45 minutes and has variable terrain.
  • If you are looking to add some mileage then head on out to Colossal Cave.  The gradual climb out to toward the cave turnoff has few cars and a great bike lane.

3. Kitt Peak

  • One of the Big 3 mountains - Kitt Peak is home to some of the biggest telescopes in the world.  The round trip ride from Tucson is about 105 miles; however, most visitors travel out to Three Points and leave from the general store.  The 14-mile ride up Kitt Peak is unforgettable and starts out at a grade of about 1%; however, just know that the further you go that it will only get steeper - topping out at a 14% grade.

2. Mount Graham

  • If you have some extra time and love to climb, Mount Graham is the MOST technically challenging ride of the Big 3 and is a ~1 hour car ride from Tucson to the base near Safford.  The ride has several switch backs and the descent is not for the faint of heart.  While not having as many telescopes as Kitt Peak, Mount Graham's are much bigger.

1. Mount Lemmon

  • Arguably the biggest draw for cyclists from around the world is the Mount Lemmon climb - also part of the Big 3.  This 26 mile climb will take you from the Sonoran Desert up to the Sky Island of the Catalina Mountains.  There are actually three tops to the mountain - up to Summer Haven (home of the famous Cookie Cabin - a much earned treat), up to Ski Valley (the cross walk is the official time check point from the base), and then past Ski Valley (weather permitting) is the road to the observatory and to the very top (9157 feet) of the mountain.

 

Leave a Reply