ROAD BIKING, TUCSON, Arizona – Arizona enjoys many of the USA’s top cycling climbs, but professional cyclists and amatures flock to Tucson for cooler temperatures, less traffic and some of the most challenging climbs. Tucson’s top road biking climbs include Mount Lemmon, Mount Graham, Madera Canyon, Kitt Peak, Whipple Observatory (cyclocross or hardtailed mountain bike needed) and the eight mile paved bike ride up Hokpins. When plotting your Arizona road biking vacation, Tucson is the center point for incredible climbing rides.
Road Biking Mount Lemmon Description: Perhaps the greatest ride in America, Tucson’s Mount Lemmon is hands down the greatest climb – and the greatest road bike ride – in Arizona. Park your car in the Madera Village parking lot in front of Le Buzz, coffee up and you will be ready to for the cycling ride of your life.
Cyclists can road bike Mount Lemmon year round. From November through March the weather can be unpredictable. We really recommend cyclists to carry layers of clothes. The weather in any mountainous terrain can change rapidly. If you are looking for a great Mount Lemmon alternative, consider Green Valley’s Madera Canyon where the elevation only goes to 5200 feet. You won’t be cheated! The final 2.5 miles will give you 14 percenters to climb.
Mount Lemmon is world renown. The ride starts gentle, and gradually gets steeper. Mount Lemmon makes for an epic day. The descent is one of the greatest you will ever enjoy.
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Description: This ride takes cyclists up one of the highest mountains in the state. From the desert floor to the mountain’s peak, this ride is a challenge with nearly 8,000 feet of climbing! Located in Safford, just an 90 minutes from Tucson International Airport, most cyclists consider this to be a more challenging cycling climb ride than Lemmon. Dress warm and carry layers of clothes and plenty of water. It can snow here just about any time of the year.
Description: This route provides cyclists with a challenge and a view. While making a variety of climbs, a few easy and some difficult, cyclists are provided with a fantastic view of Verde Valley, which looks especially beautiful during the month of October.
Description: This route can be as long or as short as a rider chooses to make it, as there are various pit stops along the way. The bulk of the course takes cyclists through the Superstition Mountains providing cyclists with breathtaking scenery.
Description: This ride circles Kitt Peak National Observatory and out to west Tucson-Ajo Highway and can be up to more than 100 miles in length if started from the heart of Tucson. This course combines a low, flat road ride and a difficult, steep climb up Kitt Peak.
Description: With 6,000 feet of climbing, the ascents are plenty and of a variety. This route crosses Seven Springs, down to Bartlett Lake and back.
Description: This short loop provides cyclists with a variety of wild plant life and cacti giving it the title of one of the prettiest routes in the Tucson area. This route has a few sharp turns and a long climb that goes on for more than a mile.
Description: El Tour de Mesa uses this route for its annual road race. It takes cyclists through central Scottsdale, onto the Beeline Highway (State Route 87), along the Salt River and through Usery Mountain Regional Park and back to Mesa.
Description: This route takes riders around the McDowell Sonoran Preserve though Fountain Hills and and up and down various rolling climbs.
Description: The entirety of this ride goes through both urban and scenic views within Saguaro National Park and can begin in various locations to make the ride shorter or longer. The portion within the park is made up of a variety of climbs and winding roads, which can prove tedious.
Description: With a max elevation of more than 9,000 feet, this route is sure to take your breath away, literally. The climb to Arizona’s highest peak is not easy, but it is beautiful.
Description: This popular Saturday morning group ride takes cyclists from Tucson to Green Valley in a loop.The scenery includes mountainous desert before returning back to Tucson.
Description: Thisloop takes cyclists up South Mountain and around Ahwatukee. This route includes a tough climb to the infamous towers that many Valley cyclists like to use for climbing practice.
Description: This route is used for the Hillside road race that was unfortunately canceled in 2014. This course includes a big descent before a long climb back out all along State Route 96 and State Route 97.
Description: This triangle-shaped course has been used as the route for the Colossal Cave road race for years. With a start on Pistol Hill, this ride has few curves, rollers and only one small climb.
Description: Cyclists start in Tempe, ride through Scottsdale, around Paradise Valley and back. This route is perfect for a gentle group ride with some hills in between.