Mountain Biking Arizona: Tucson's Pistol Hill to Three Bridges Moutain Bike Trails

  • Miles: 28.2
  • High: 1,120 m
  • Singletrack: 100%
  • Low: 1,023 m
  • Ascent: 511 m
  • Ave/Grade (4°): 4%
  • Descent: -511 m
  • Max Grade (13°): 15%

“A fun out and back on the AZT”

— Hillary Mathis on Jul 28, 2013

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Pistol Hill to Three Bridges Trails – Tucson, Arizona Photos

What The Bike Bandit Says About Pistol Hill to Three Bridges Moutain Bike Trails

“Start this ride at Pistol Hill or at Gabe Zimmerman. Get ready for some rigorous climbing and some rocky technical challenge. I love this trail because you are totally away from it all and it has that Old West feeling.”

Jason, The Bike Bandit Jason, The Bike Bandit

TUCSON, Arizona – Mountain Biking – The Arizona Trail offers 800-mile trail that stretches from Utah to Mexico. You will find that the sections that go through Tucson are some of the best and splendid trails in the region, and Pistol Hill to Three Bridges have become a favorite.

Usually, a North to South out-and-back of 24-miles or so starting from Pistol Hill parking comes with an excellent singletrack plus rolling ups and downs, a number of technical sections (convenient for walking as well if necessary) and one important climb halfway through the ride. If you’re not up for going through the bridges, you will find a popular turnaround point at the climb’s top.

For people willing to put in dozen or so miles, you can find a very beginner-friendly, excellent section heading north from the northern Pistol Hill parking lot. Continue with the 6-mile meandering descent to a large creek before turning around and climbing back out. Just be careful because cyclists are now allowed at the Saguaro National Monument Wilderness the trail is not open to cyclists past the creek.

Bring lots of water although you can find water and restrooms available within Colossal Cave Mountain Park about 6 miles from the Pistol Hill trailhead. From time to time, you will see equestrians, and even hikers, so yield and be polite. You will also find a number of cattle trails and old ATV trails that break off here and there, so best to make sure you keep on the trail that has a mark brown AZ Trail signs. Make sure to close the gates regardless if you found them open.

You can find the Pistol Hill parking area just North of the trail where it crosses Pistol Hill road. If you will be coming from parking area then you should ride back up the road about 20-yards and cross over the cattleguard. You will see that the easier 6-mile northern section is at the large gate on the the right side (west) of the road. Should you prefer Three Bridges, hang a left (east) where you will come across the singletrack start there.

Directions to Pistol Hill to Three Bridges
Moutain Bike Trails – Tucson, Arizona

Directions to Pistol Hill Parking: Go out of Tucson on 22nd Street, and turn right on Old Spanish Trail just past Houghton. Keep to this road for about 13-miles while looking at the signs to Colossal Cave Park. When you’re around two-miles out from the Park, you will reach the Pistol Hill intersection. This will be paved on your right and dirt on your left. Hang a left onto the well-graded dirt road then keep to this about 1.5-miles. Eventually, you will reach a cattle-guard and see the parking on the right with a large wooden signboard. The trailhead is about 20-yards back up the road past the cattle guard.

Directions to Three Bridges Parking: Pick the Interstate 10 South out of Tucson then proceed to exit 281. Hang a left and cross over the highway and once over, instead of merging back onto I-10, hang a RIGHT onto Benson Highway (also called Frontage or Marsh Station Rd). Around 3.0 miles in, you should find a large dirt parking lot on your right just before you beyond  a bridge over a creek. After this, you’ll come up on ahead with two train bridges above and to your left. When you are at the parking lot, you should go northeast and go down into the canyon, wind under a train trestle and climb back out. Hang a sharp left on the dirt road, cross over the paved road, under the OTHER train trestle, and you’ll see the trail due west, just on the other side of the flattened barb-wire fence. If you do not prefer such then you can go to the Canyon, just ride along the road until you get across the bridge.

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Mountain bike Arizona’s best mountain biking destination by booking a guided or a self guided tour! Tucson Bike Rental and Tours will meet you at the trailhead, drop off bikes and pick them up when you are done.  We provide bikes, helmets and pedals. Or, take a guided or an instructional mountain bike tour with one of our top professionals. Tucson Bike Rentals and Tours also offers guided and self guided road biking tours. Just looking for some “things to do in Tucson” or a great Tucson sightseeing opportunity? Tucson and Oro Valley, Arizona is the world’s greatest biking destination. Book today!
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