Reddington Pass

This is a Training Route: a good local ride, but not a 5 Star destination ride.

Reddington road slices through the Coronado National Forest with an evolving landscape. The road starts with rolling hills and a farm with camels (so no, you aren’t seeing things); then opens up into loads of prickly pear cactus and ocotillo on a stepper switchbacking climb. It then morphs into a rocky landscape mixed with grasses, junipers and yuccas where the road rolls with an upward trend. The turn to Ranch HQ leads to Bellota Ranch Headquarters which was settled in 1875, but we recommend you keep heading up to Redington Pass at mile 12+. The turn around point is nothing special, except it being the high point of the road.

If by chance you read the maps and see that the Arizona Trail crosses your path near the turn around point, you should think twice (well three times actually) before you decide to short cut over to Catalina Highway (the paved road up Mt. Lemon) to form a really cool loop. We pushed and pulled our bikes up a steep, rocky trail for over an hour. While it was BEAUTIFUL … we wouldn’t exactly call it a gravel ride. A gravel grunt? You’ve been warned.

If we lived in the east of Tucson, this would be a go to after work training ride. But, be warned, on weekends it gets a lot of OHV traffic and there are several makeshift shooting (i.e. gun) ranges along the way. They can be a bit startling the first time by.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Out & Back: 26 miles / 2500 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 75 % gravel, 25% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: Tucson, AZ
– Published: December 2019 (updated Feb 2021)

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Moderate (Overall)

  • Technical Riding Difficulty: Moderate
    There is some steep and rocky terrain, but most of it is short in duration.
  • Navigation Challenge & Risk: Low
    This is a simple out and back. The most challenging nav is getting to Reddington Road.
  • Remote Risk: Low
    We saw a handful of cars and OHV buggies. On a nice weather weekend you can expect to see a lot of people.

When we like to ride this ..

Fall through spring, summer can be hot and exposed. We also recommend mid-week! Based on the below comments, it appears that Reddington Pass has been “discovered”. The area is now frequented by Off Highway Vehicles (OHV’s) and gun shooting (i.e. target practice) groups.

The Start

Agua Caliente Hill South trailhead parking area. No toilet or water facilities.
Lat / Long: 32.274830, -110.711922


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Legend

Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road


Ride Details

Food / Water

None

Ride Notes

The route is suited for big tires. 40 mm is pretty much the minimum you want. 2.1’s on a Salsa Cutthroat rode great.

This route has been listed as a “4 Star” because it has a nondescript turn around point. However, if we lived in the Tucson area, this would be a go to training route for us.

Ride Options

The route can be made longer by continuing past the pass for another 13 miles to the town of Reddington.

  • Eric P says:

    My friend and I are from out of town and rode this today. I would like to echo the busyness of the route including target shooting. All that traffic is really tearing up the road. The first/last 7 miles were miserable between dodging all the craters and the traffic on 40mm tires. Once you get past that there is almost no one and the road smooths out and is quite enjoyable with amazing views. The plan was to make an out and back to San Manuel, but a sliced tire made us boot it and try to get back in one piece.

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Thanks for the comment! We will continue to monitor a bit more. If it stays as is, we may demote the route to 3 Star (a local training ride) or remove it completely.

  • Charlie Weesner says:

    I thought I was a fan of Redington Pass. Wildcat shooting, offroad vehicles, and lots of traffic have dissuaded me. I would ride it during the week, but avoid like the plague on a weekend.

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Based on the last 2 posts, we have changed the “When we like to ride this …” and added in more info about the OHV traffic and target practice sessions. We will continue to monitor the comments and if the issue becomes pronounced, we may choose to remove the ride from the DF catalogue of rides.

      Thus, riders … please continue to comment. It really helps keep the routes great!! Thanks!

  • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

    This is a comment we received via email.
    “We rode Reddington Pass Saturday (day after Christmas) and that was the most traffic we’ve been around! Quads, jeeps, trucks. It took away from the ride because it was hard to find the right line with quads breathing down your neck trying to pass. A few cyclists we talked to said it was extreme but that most weekends had significant traffic. Plus, there were at least 5 roadside target shooting sessions ongoing. All were being prudent but the noise was too much and always disconcerting in my book. ~ ChadD”

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