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
Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]
- 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.
Agua Caliente Hill South trailhead parking area. No toilet or water facilities.
Lat / Long: 32.274830, -110.711922
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Food / Water
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.
The route can be made longer by continuing past the pass for another 13 miles to the town of Reddington.