Southern Arizona Road Adventure
Get an early taste of spring in the high Sonoran Desert. The luggage support, catered meals, two nights of indoor lodging, and moderate daily mileages will help us ease gently back into the spin of things as we pedal beneath the blue Arizona sky.
We’ll meet in Tucson, then shuttle to our start location at Patagonia Lake State Park. We’ll traverse country roads and climb over the cactus-studded flanks of desert mountains. We’ll visit Green Valley, which is famous for its pecans, as well as the Patagonia/Sonoita area, where the cowboy lifestyle thrives alongside exquisite vineyards and a blooming art community. We’ll have a chance to tour places like Tombstone’s O.K. Corral and Bisbee, with time for other pursuits such as bird watching, gallery hopping, and wine tasting. So leave the winter chill behind and join us for a week of bike touring in the Desert Southwest.
Grab some friends and join today! Each rider in a group of 5 or more will receive a 15% discount. Learn more...
"I was very impressed by the leaders. They were very effective at getting us/gear/equipment/schedules organized, and they were all genuinely glad to be out riding bike with us and getting to know us. I also liked the way the tour was structured — I liked that everyone was able to depart when ready, and ride at their own pace, as long as they arrived before dinner. I felt no pressure to go fast or slow, and that was very liberating for me."
Day 1. Patagonia, Arizona, 0 miles
We’ll meet up in the early afternoon in Tucson, then catch a shuttle to our tour start at Patagonia Lake State Park. Located just outside of Patagonia, home to the Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, the state park is a great destination for birding complete with lakeside trails and a beach. Here we’ll have a lip-smackin’ dinner from our wonderful caterer and have our first map meeting. When it’s time to hit the tent, we’ll doze off in the delightfully cool, dry Arizona air.
Day 2. Patagonia to Tombstone, 66 miles
We'll leave Patagonia, riding northeast to Elgin, which joins Patagonia and Sonoita as the third town making up the "Mountain Empire" of southern Arizona. The vast, mountain-ringed grasslands support high-desert vineyards that supply grapes for wines made locally and have served as backdrops for movies ranging from Oklahoma to Kevin Costner's Tin Cup. From Elgin we'll push on to Tombstone, where we'll enjoy an evening of indoor lodging.
Day 3. Tombstone to Bisbee, 45 miles
From Tombstone, we'll bicycle through empty, broad-shouldered country that unfolds against the distant mountains. Following roads with names like "Frontier" and "Double Adobe," we'll make the approach to the mile-high town of Bisbee, founded in 1880. Mines in the Mule Mountains surrounding this former boomtown produced some three million ounces of gold and more than eight billion pounds of copper, making it one of the world's richest turn-of-the-20th-century mineral camps. We'll camp for two nights in Bisbee at the centrally located Higgins Park, a fine base camp for exploring all of this historic town's features and attractions.
Day 4. Bisbee, 0 miles
Layover day. By the early 20th century, Bisbee, with a population of 20,000, was the largest city in the Southwest. Though the population has shrunk to around 6,000, Bisbee has grown into a thriving center of the arts with plenty to see and do. You might take a walking tour of the historic downtown and beautifully restored Victorian homes that seem to hang from the hillsides, go underground and visit an inactive copper mine, or clunk along the dusty roads of the surrounding mountains on a commercial jeep tour. If you'd rather bicycle, you can do the 45-mile round trip ride to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, where a multitude of birds, mammals, and amphibians thrive in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands.
Day 5. Bisbee to Sierra Vista, 38 miles
A short but scenic route through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area highlights our day as we eat our lunch along the banks of the river. Designated in 1988, the San Pedro Riparian NCA was designated to protect and enhance the desert riparian ecosystem, which is now a rare remnant of what was once a much more extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the Southwest. We'll take a break from setting up our tents again tonight in lue of indoor accommodations.
Day 6. Sierra Vista to Kartchner Caverns State Park, 24 miles
On our last day, a short ride will take us into Kartchner Caverns State Park, where you'll have an opportunity to hike or take a tour of the Rotunda/Throne Room or Big Cave Room, home to the world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk. After our visit, we'll shuttle back to Tucson at tour's end, where stout saguaro cacti, standing with arms extended, will bid us farewell.
Know before you go
Information for eBike riders:
Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended, and it can be carried by staff and available at a designated stop during the day.