Saguaro (East)

5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl & Captain ‘O

Silliness. This is not a ride: this is really a grand TOUR of saguaro cactus and all the other spiny plants that make up Saguaro National Park. You just happen to be using your bike as a way to see the park. We’ve combined the paved loop that the cars drive, along with a single track hiking / biking trail to make for just the perfect adventure. You’ll have a million and one opportunities to snap pictures and enjoy the grand saguaros!  (So leave that Strava mentality at home.) 

Now before you get confused, Saguaro National Park has two distinct locations. East and West.   The “districts” are on opposite sides of Tucson, both are dedicated to showcasing all that the dessert has to offer up. This is the EAST mixed gravel bike route.

And before you go thinking super quick, super easy … remember it’s 15 miles, a 1,000 feet of climbing and 5 miles of single track with a prickly poke for any handling mistake.  

Ride Details

The route starts at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center. You can park by the front, but you still have to pay to ride into the park. We recommend a quick trip into the Visitor Center to learn about the cactus and the number of animals that live in the park.  // Read More

Adventure / Gravel Route

Figure 8: 15 miles / 1000 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 35% single track, 65% paved
eBike Friendly: No
– Location: Tucson, Arizona
– Published: January 2020

Difficulty

Moderate. Due to the prickly consequences of going off trail on the single track. Ouch!

When we like to ride this …

Fall to spring when the skies are clear and the temps are moderate. We would avoid this route in summer as it is very exposed to the sun. Or as an alternative, ride it very early in the morning or later in the evening. The Park Service requires a rear reflector and headlight.

The Start

The Visitor center. Flush toilets. Water.
Lat / Long: 32.180001, -110.736403

Food / Water

None


Downloads

Cue Sheet / GPX FileTCX File

Legend

Red = paved road
Blue = single track

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

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