“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 Tour
- Mar 17, 2014 - Mar 21, 2014
- Mar 24, 2014 - Mar 28, 2014
- Mar 31, 2014 - Apr 4, 2014
The place to go for early and late season singletrack is the Sonoran Desert just south of Tucson, Arizona.
The trails wind through huge Saguaro cacti and the views reach almost to Mexico. The riding is fun and swooping with short technical sections. In the spring, cacti of every description are blooming all over the place. Our route travels on the Arizona Trail through trees and grasslands with great views of Mount Wrightson. We then work our way south to the Santa Rita Mountains.
This trip requires singletrack skills and experience. Low altitudes and short climbs make it perfect for early season riding. It is also a great alternative to Moab for the last hurrah of your mountain biking season in October. Call us at 800-845-2453. We can answer all your questions about this spectacular desert adventure.
Please provide a little information to see the full itinerary, travel logistics and other important details:
Sonoran Desert Tour Itinerary
MEETING TIME AND PLACE
This trip will begin at 8:30am MST at Performance Bicycle, 3302 E Speedway, Tucson, Arizona, 520-327-3232. We will load up the van and then drive to Tucson Mountain Park to begin our ride. 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.
ITINERARY (Download as a PDF)
TRIP DAY 1
This morning we'll spend an enjoyable 2-3 hours riding in Tucson Mountain Park, a 20,000 acre Sonoran Desert natural preserve that includes one of the most magnigicent Saguaro Cactus forests in the world. The Tucson valley is a high desert, once the floor of an ancient inland sea, and is surrounded by four mountain ranges, the Santa Catalinas, Rincons, Santa Ritas and Tucsons. On this trip we ride the best singletrack of the region. In addition to the characteristic Saguaros, there are also chollas, barrel cactus, prickly pear and ocotillo. The Tucson area is well known for its bird watching potential and at certain times of the year over 200 species of birds have been identified in the vicinity. After lunch, our smooth singletrack loop swoops in and out of arroyos finally returning us to the shade of our lunch tree. It's the perfect singletrack to warm us up for the more technical riding in the mountains. We'll load into the van and shuttle to the Santa Rita Mountains to our camp for the next three nights. TOTAL MILEAGE - 16-20 miles
TRIP DAY 2
Out here in the shadow of Mount Wrightson, we will do several loops from camp. The morning ride will take us though limestone cave country, and traverse in and out of old growth oak trees. We'll have a mid-morning stop at the historic gold mining establishment of Kentucky Camp and learn about the trials and tribulations of the early gold miners. We'll return heading south on the Arizona Trail back to our camp for lunch. The afternoon ride takes us up to the newly created Link Trail. This section of trail follows an old water flume built by the ambitious gold miners in the early 1900's. 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 they did leave us a great swooping and zooming trail that leads us right back to camp. "Downhill in both directions this flume trail!" TOTAL MILEAGE - 12-25 miles
TRIP DAY 3
The Arizona Trail is a singletrack in the making that will eventually run the entire length of the state (approx. 800 miles). Currently the trail is 90% complete and many sections provide excellent riding. From our camp, we'll head up the dirt road for a couple of miles before intersecting a great section of the trail. Here, we'll head north through historic mining claims to Kentucky Camp and early gold mining outposts. The trail rollercoasters through beautiful woods and grasslands offering occasional views of Mt. Wrightson, which rises abruptly 5,000 feet from the desert floor. From Kentucky Camp we'll stay on the trail and climb up to Granite Mountain before rolling along to Forest Road 62 near Greaterville. We'll circle around and return to our same camp in Gardiner Canyon with plenty of time for a splash in the granite walled creek. TOTAL MILEAGE - 20 miles
TRIP DAY 4
After a hearty breakfast, we'll load into the van for a short shuttle to the highlight ride of the trip, "Fantasy Island". In one square mile of land, the local mountain bikers have installed over 20 miles of singletrack. The trails twist between chollo cactus and roll through deep arroyos steep enough to coast up the other side. The trail tread is fairly smooth, firm packed soil. The technical nature of the riding comes from maneuvering your bike through the tight turns and navigating between the pricklies. If you don't have fun here, you're a fun hater. In the ride afterglow, we'll load up and head to our camp at Catalina State Park. TOTAL MILEAGE - 15 miles
TRIP DAY 5
Today's ride is an awesome overview of the week's riding. Pedaling the singletrack of the 50 Year Trail, we'll overlook Oro Valley with the backdrop of the western slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Romero Canyon Wilderness Area. The winding singletrack culminates in the local's favorite section called the "chutes". We'll be riding out and back today, winding in and out of the saguaros, prickly pear and cholla cactus. After lunch we load up for our return to the bike shop in Tucson. TOTAL MILEAGE - 16 miles
Riding Surface: Variable loose rocky single and double tracks.
Technical Difficulty: Moderate to very difficult. Some obstacles and one hike-a-bike section.
Physical Difficulty: Strong intermediate with some difficult sections.
Altitude: 2,000-6,000 feet.
Please Note: This tour contains some difficult riding on narrow desert trails. We will be without vehicle support during all 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.
Tucson is located at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 19. It is 110 miles from Phoenix, about 1- 1/2 hours drive. There is parking available at the bike shop.
-Flying into Tucson
Airport Code: TUS
-Flying into Phoenix, AZ
Airport Code: PHX
There are two options.
1. Rent a car and drive to Tucson. Park the car at the bike shop while on the tour.
2. Take the Arizona Shuttle. Rates are $37 one way. Call 800-888-2749 or 520-795-6771 for departure times and to make reservations.
Arizona Stage Coach 520-889-1000 (airport shuttle)
Alpha Transportation 520-322-0868 (taxi service)
It is a good idea to book your rooms ahead and these are our recommendations.
Marriott University Park Hotel
Historic Hotel Congress
Best Western Royal Sun Inn
These last three hotels are near the University and will require a taxi ride to the bike shop.
Above rates are approximate.
There are really just two kinds of weather: weather you like and weather you do not like. Come prepared for both and you won't care what the weather does.
If you have questions about temperatures for your specific trip please feel free to give us a call 800-845-2453 or email us at email@example.com. We will be happy to give you packing suggestions and help you with ideas for things to do before and after your bike trip.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
You will receive a tour packing list with your tour confirmation package. Be sure to bring everything on this list. Weather in the desert can be unpredictable so be sure to bring all the warm clothing and rain gear listed! Please pack all of your gear in a medium to large duffel bag. It will ride in the trailer. If you have any questions about anything on the list, please call us.
SHIPPING YOUR BIKE
You are welcome to ship your bike to us in advance of your trip. For a moderate fee we will unpack it, build it, and ship it back home to you afterwards. Bikes can be insured to $4,000. Domestic shipping only. If you decide you want to go this route, you must call us in advance of your trip so we can inform the shop that your bike is on its way.
To ship your bike UPS, send it to Performance Bicycle 3302 E Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85716; 520-327-3232. It is critical that you include your name, "Western Spirit Cycling" and tour date on the outside of the box. Check with your local UPS people for the number of days needed for it to arrive in time. It is imperative to have your bike finely tuned and cleaned before your tour so you know it is in top running condition.
If you have any other questions about trip logistics, please feel free to send us an email or, better yet, to call us at 800-845-2453. We will be happy to try to help you answer any other questions you might have about our bike trips.
THINGS TO DO
Your guides will have all the maps necessary for your trip. If you would like your own copy for a souvenir, here is all the info:
For Forest Service Maps of the Western Spirit Routes go to http://www.store.usgs.gov/. To get to the Forest Service maps go to "Featured Products" and then under "Go to product line" choose US Forest Service Maps and Arizona for: 111559 CORONADO NAT'L FOREST NOGALES SIERRA, AZ