Mountain Biking Arizona: Tucson's Sweetwater Mountain Bike Trails

  • Miles: 12.1
  • High: 817 m
  • Singletrack: 95%
  • Low: 752 m
  • Ascent: 162 m
  • Ave/Grade (2°): 3%
  • Descent: -162 m
  • Max Grade (5°): 9%

“A beautiful introductory ride through some of the most beautiful singletrack in Tucson.”

— Evan Olson on Jan 2, 2014

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Sweetwater Trails – Tucson, Arizona Photos

What The Bike Bandit Says About Sweetwater Mountain Bike Trails

“This is the best trail system in all of Tucson. You have a mild “beginner” side to the East that is narrow, clean, with some up and down. Then you have about 12 or so miles of more aggressive, rocky trail to the south and the west. This side will compare favorably with Starr Pass. Incredible trail system. This is a great place to bring hikes, children as well as adults who can handle aggressive terrain.”

Jason, The Bike Bandit Jason, The Bike Bandit

What The Locals Say About Sweetwater Mountain Bike Trails

“I rode Sweetwater trail system this morning. The trails are mostly swoopy singletrack among the giant Saguaro cactus; occasionally rocky or sandy. One section is loose shale. The trails are extremely well marked, with clear, color coded signage. Basically impossible to get lost. The trails have lots of short ups and downs, no big climbs or descents. I started by riding the perimeter, clockwise, from the trailhead. It took about an hour, 7.5 miles. Then, I re-rode, taking all of the little linking intermediate trails. Again, it took about an hour, about 7.5 miles. So, in about 2 hours, you can ride every trail in this little trail system.”

Mark Aspinwall · Indonesia Director at E3 Partners

TUCSON, Arizona – Mountain Biking – Sweetwater is considered one newest additions to the Tucson trail-system and it has become very popular. There is also a completed new and bigger parking area but remember tobe kind and considerate with the neighbors, since they are not keen with all the cars parked at the end of the road. This area is a decent-sized system with many trails and loops of fairly easy terrain to make your ride as enjoyable as you want. You shouldn’t have to worry about being lost because there are houses around.

Generally, it is ideal to begin with the Saguaro Vista Trail, Sun Circle Loop, and Black Rock Loop and then taking the Lost Arrow Trail to head off to the other trails. You can combine the Sun Circle Loop and the Black Rock Loop for an excellent beginner’s ride, particularly when riding the two loops clockwise.

Black Rock Loop has a small sustained climb when riding in the clockwise direction with an excellent subtle downhill section to gain some speed as a reward. The Lost Arrow Trail is all sustained climbing with a couple of small wash crossings. Starting from the end of the Lost Arrow Trail, you have the option to take the Spine to the left or head straight on the Homestead Trail. This offers access to the Red Canyon Trail with a number of wash crossings. The Red Canyon Trail comes with small rocky section that is excellent for riders in the intermediate level although not recommended for beginners.  The Oxbow trail is really just a flat connector trail that leads riders from the Red Tail Ridge Trail (with 2 more wash crossings at the end) to the Spine and the Wildflower Ridge Trail. You can find the Wildflower Ridge Trail (mostly downhill) that has several nice little switchbacks (one of them in a slightly rocky section).

Directions to Sweetwater Moutain Bike Trails – Tucson, Arizona

Directions: Pick Ruthrauff Rd. west of I-10 where it then turns to El Camino del Cerro. Approx 1 mile west of I-10 you will cross Silverbell Rd. Stick to the west for about another 1.8 miles until you come to Tortolita Rd., and turn left (south). Travel another mile until the road dead ends, and you’re at the trailhead.

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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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