For one day a year this 16-mile loop located about 40 miles north of Tucson is one of the most popular singletracks in the sport and home to one of the largest 24-hour events in the world! Since 1999, 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP), has been drawing thousands of mountain bikers for the ultimate combination of endurance and camaraderie. The race area turns into a pop-city overnight, including sponsors, music, and vendors.
“Best experience if you love mountain biking,” says Stacy Gottesman. “The event fills up fast due to its popularity. I look forward to going every year.”
If you missed the annual registration, there’s still some good news: You can still enjoy this course anytime! Old Pueblo is a fast, rolling ride consisting of roughly six officially recognized trails that offer a healthy mix of intermediate-graded areas and no shortage of climbing. Expect about 85 percent singletrack, rolling terrain, and some steep climbs and steep drops. Overall, this course can be tackled by beginners with a touch of patience, while advanced riders can tear through this famous loop and get a good adrenaline rush in return.
“The trail is in great shape,” says Don Singer. “Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclist volunteers are making it even better. I think this is some of the most fun singletrack in Arizona.”
While this area turns into a bustling throng of people one day a year, it’s still remote enough that riders who venture here outside of the event date will find the course empty and peaceful. Keep an eye out for cows and cow pies! Make sure you bring enough water and try to plan your ride for early morning to avoid the sun and the heat. You will need a recreational permit from the Arizona State Land Department. (Cost is approx. $15 and is good for one year.) Click here to get yours and read more important info.
Excellent footage of the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo race from a few years ago!
Directions: GPS or your favorite maps app highly recommended to find this area. Click here for Google Maps. From Tucson, you’ll want to be heading north on Oracle Road for the first 30 miles until you reach Willow Springs Road, which you’ll take north for another approx. 10 miles until you reach the Old Pueblo course, which will be on your righthand side. If you hit the fork where Willow Spring splits, you’ve gone too far!
Bike sales and rentals: Read our recap of Oro Valley and Tucson bike rentals here. Either one of these fine companies will help you pick out the best ride of Old Pueblo. Local rental services like Oro Valley Bike Rentals and Tucson Bike Rentals have a wide selection of mountain bikes, the accessories you didn’t know you needed, and practical advice for anyone looking to make the most of Old Pueblo, whether it’s the day of the famous race or any day of the week!
Food and drink: After finishing Old Pueblo, check out De Marco’s Pizzeria & Italian, which will be along the route back to Tucson. If you’re feeling a bit fancier, The Preserve Fine Dining has some of the best views around and a modern American cuisine menu that brings in five-star reviews on the regular.