Connecting visitors with their ideal travel experiences in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Before we jump into some of our favorite trails, hear from pro-mountain biker and olympian Todd Wells on what makes riding in Tucson so awesome.
These four options comprise some of the best mountain biking in the area. Tucson has 100s of miles of singletrack fit for all different experience levels and styles, but what we have below should get you started. NOTE: Mountain biking can be dangerous! Make sure you research before you go, ride with others and if you're unsure about a particular trail contact a local guide service.
The Starr Pass trail system on the west side of town is the prototypical spot for Tucson riding. Rocky tech climbs with a nice amount of flow mixed in, all set in the beauty of the desert. This area has a wealth of different options from moderately difficult to down-right hard. It is easily accessible from the downtown area, so if you're short on time and looking for a challenging ride, look no further. Difficulty: Depending on the trail segment this area is best-suited for intermediate to advanced riders.
Quite possibly Tucson's most popular trail system to ride, this area is similar to Starr Pass, but a bit more approachable. You'll find relatively smooth flowing singletrack with just enough tech to keep it interesting. Gorgeous Saguaros and other exotic plant-life cover the area making for some spectacular scenery. This trail system is also very accessible and the meandering loops mean you can ride for an just hour or for most of the day. Difficulty: This trail is great for beginner to intermediate riders. It is a popular area so watch out for trail traffic, including hikers and runners.
This is by far one of the most fun areas to ride in all of Southern Arizona. Just northwest of Tucson near the town of Oro Valley, this trail system provides endless awesomeness. Take a moderate climb to the reward of a fast, flowy, bermed descent on the segment known as The Chutes. Explore backcountry-style lines and massive rock-rolls on the Gem Trail and Upper-50 segments. And tackle puzzle-like technical climbs and fun downhill flow with some big drops on the Middlegate segment. Loop to the chutes and back for a quick jaunt or connect multiple segments for an all-day epic. Difficulty: This trail system is best suited for intermediate to advanced riders.
For advanced riders looking to see what makes Tucson such a MTB Mecca, this is your trail. After some hike-a-bike at the beginning it's on! Starting in pine forest at over 6,000 feet of elevation and descending over 2,000 feet to the desert grassland below this trail offers technical rock sections, fun flow along exposed ridges, and unobstructed views of the Tucson basin. Connect Bugs to the Prison Camp trail for a few extra miles of fun. This is the perfect trail to expose riders to what riding Mt Lemmon has to offer - a challenging but fun ride that will have you smiling all the way down. Difficulty: This trail is best suited for upper-intermediate to advanced riders. Running a shuttle with two cars is highly recommended to avoid having to ride up the road to get back to the top. Contact a local guide service like HomeGrown MTB to help with shuttle arrangements.