“The guides have been all exceedingly friendly, helpful, and genuinely fun to be around, especially to my son, whose first question upon returning home is always, "Where are we going next year?" ”
Sonoran Desert Family Trip
- Mar 17, 2014 - Mar 21, 2014
- Mar 24, 2014 - Mar 28, 2014
- Mar 31, 2014 - Apr 4, 2014
This is a trip to the land of Geronimo: the Sonoran Desert in the far southern mountains of Arizona. We will see and experience this unique desert landscape learning about the plants, animals, and history of the wild west.
Each day there is a great ride for everyone to enjoy plus lots of options for hiking, exploring and extra credit riding miles. We run this trip to meet popular spring break schedules in March and April, which happens to be an incredible time to see the desert in bloom. Delphiniums and Mariposas, plus all the varieties of cacti make this trip both fun and spectacular. Give us a call at 800-845-2453. We would love to talk with you in more detail about this awesome family tour.
Please provide a little information to see the full itinerary, travel logistics and other important details:
Sonoran Desert Family Trip Itinerary
MEETING TIME AND PLACE
This trip will begin at 8:30 AM MST at Performance Bicycle 3302 E Speedway, Tucson, Arizona, 520-327-3232. You will need to spend the night before in Tucson.
ENDING TIME AND PLACE
We will return to the bike shop in Tucson between 4:00-5:00 PM on the last day.
Our goal for the morning is the Tucson Mountain Park, a 20,000 acre Sonoran Desert natural preserve that includes one of the most magnificent saguaro cactus forests in the world. We will ride some wide rolling singletrack trails for about five miles before lunch. After lunch we will visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This famous research institution includes a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place! Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert region so realistically you find yourself eye to eye with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters and more. Within the museum grounds, you will see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost two miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert. This is a complete overview of the southwestern flora and fauna and will give us a great foundation of knowledge to enjoy the rest of our journey. Finally we will shuttle out to the Santa Rita Mountains and Gardner Canyon, our camp for the next two nights. TOTAL MILEAGE: 5 - 9 miles
We will do several loops from camp in the shadow of Mount Wrightson. The morning ride will take us through limestone cave country and traverses in and out of old growth oak trees. We’ll have lunch at the historic gold mining establishment of Kentucky Camp and learn about the trials and tribulations of the early gold miners. After lunch we will have several options, including more riding for those that wish it, or a shuttle back to camp for games and activities for the kids. TOTAL MILEAGE: 8 - 20 miles
From our camp nestled in old growth oak trees, we will head for the Flume Trail. This section of trail follows an old water flume built by the ambitious gold miners in the early 1900s. Their hope was that through advanced water technology they would be able to recover trace amounts of gold that were previously not extractable. Needless to say, no one made much money, but in their efforts to make water run uphill, they did leave us a great swooping and zooming trail that leads us right back to camp. Back at camp, we’ll pack up and head to the tiny town of Patagonia, Arizona. After lunch in the town park and a peek into Patagonia’s fun art galleries, we will head over to the Sonita Creek Preserve which was the first project of the Nature Conservancy in Arizona. This area includes 130 year old Fremont cottonwoods, a permanent stream, high biodiversity, abundant birdlife and a pristine riparian area. Afterwards, a short shuttle will take us to our camp in the nearby Canelo Hills. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 15 miles
Spectacular scenery and views will start our day today. We’ll ride through the San Rafael Valley, the historic region where the Apaches, Mexicans, rustlers and ranchers were commonly friends or foes from the mid 1800s until the early 1900’s. We’ll see the old mining districts of the Patagonia Mountains and continue until we reach the ghost town of Harsaw. Silver and lead extractions were the bread and butter of this region until the market fizzled out in the early 1900s. A visit to Harsaw will be convenient from our large campsite as well as plenty of afternoon extra credit rides. TOTAL MILEAGE: 16 - 25 miles
We’ll start our final day with a ride back into Patagonia, where we’ll load up for a shuttle back to the fringes of the Tucson Valley. Saguaro National Park in the Rincon Mountain District is the destination of our last pedal. Saguaro National Park, previously Saguaro National Monument, consists of 91,327 acres which contain spectacular examples of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem including a wide variety of desert plants, and of course the famous saguaro cactus, symbol of the American Southwest. In 1933 the Rincon Mountain District was the first national park or monument set aside to protect a species of plant. Zipping through the cactus forests and granite boulders along a combination of dirt trails and paved one way roads will bring us to a great lunch spot for our final feast before heading back to the bike shop in Tucson. TOTAL MILEAGE: 16 - 24 miles
Riding Surface: Variable. Loose rocky singletrack, double track and dirt roads.
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Physical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Altitude: 2,000-6,000 feet.
Please Note: We will be without vehicle support during the singletrack sections of the trip. Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.