Patagonia AZ Gravel
Some of the best spring and fall gravel riding in the U.S. can be found outside southern Arizona’s small, eclectic town of Patagonia. This gravel paradise is 60 miles south of Tucson and sits at an elevation of 4,000 feet between the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains.
We’ll experience miles of gravel riding in the Coronado National Forest, through the rolling plain of the San Rafael Valley to the hidden gem of Parker Canyon Lake. Our route continues west past the border town of Lochiel before heading on the northern gravel roads to Patagonia Lake State Park. For birding enthusiasts, the Patagonia area is also known for world-class birding, as more than 300 bird species migrate, nest, and live in this Sky Islands area.
"This was my first ever tour. The experience was fantastic and the question is not will I do another tour, but what form it will take and for how long."
Day 1. Patagonia, Arizona, 30-mile loop
We'll meet our group in the heart of Patagonia in the morning, and after introductions and a brief meeting, we'll get on our gravel bikes and head out of town, climbing up into the San Rafael Valley. We'll be riding our ridge route, with beautiful vista views among the free-range cows. The latter portion of the afternoon ride is a fabulous descent back to Patagonia through the historic landmark town of Harshaw.
Day 2. Patagonia to Parker Canyon Lake, 39 miles
Today's ride will be a highlight for views as we again climb out of Patagonia via Forest Service gravel roads and head east toward the Huachuca Mountains. Along the roads we'll see local ranches and free-range cattle, and occasionally horses and mules. Riding through the Coronado National Forest, we'll end our day at beautiful Parker Canyon Lake where you'll have the opportunity to rent a kayak, paddleboard, or boat for an afternoon on the lake.
Day 3. Parker Lake to Patagonia Lake, 48 miles
Today you'll wake up to the sound of the birds around Parker Canyon Lake. After a hearty breakfast, we'll climb back on our bikes for our biggest day of the tour. Initially we'll head southwest through the former border crossing town of Lochiel, where we'll pass the Fray Marcos de Niza Historical Landmark. From there, we'll turn northwest toward our overnight location Patagonia Lake State Park, another great place to get out on the water.
Day 4. Patagonia Lake to Patagonia, 22 miles
Our final day of the tour brings us back to where we started, riding through Flux Canyon and along the Mowry Loop, back to Patagonia. We'll hit some steep climbs along the way, but also enjoy some great downhill back into town. Before heading home, we'll make one last stop for a celebration and enjoy some of the best homemade Patagonia pie.
Know before you go
Please consider the terrain and road surface when preparing for this tour. This tour’s route is 90% on gravel and 10% on pavement. A gravel bike or hardtail mountain bike with tires that are 45mm or wider is highly recommended.