Honeybee Canyon/Tortolita Mountain Access Update
As most mountain bikers in Tucson are already aware, there are a number of access issues going on right now at Honeybee Canyon in Oro Valley. Representatives from the MTB community are in touch with the respective stakeholders to try to find solutions. Here is an update of the current situations. Most of this information has already been posted, but we wanted to get everything in one place.
Parking Issues at 1171 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd (Fast Rhino/Cop Shop):
First off, the property management who runs the commonly used parking area at 1171 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd (sometimes called the “Cop Shop”) has, for the time being, prohibited non-customers from parking there 7 days a week. This has always been a popular place to park for folks using the Honeybee trails and, and since the Como Rd. access was closed off it has seen a huge spike in use. Numerous road cycling groups also use the lot to start and finish rides, sometimes having as many as 50 plus riders. There have been issues with folks parking there for years, mainly due to some local residents who were hostile to bikes, but things came to a head recently with business owners citing overuse of the lot during business hours, public nudity due to riders changing before and after rides, a recent bike demo day that was not cleared with the owners, and some riders urinating and even defecating at the lot.
Until further notice, please do not park at the parking lot at 1171 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. You will likely be towed. It is private property, and the owners are threatening to tow anyone who parks there for cycling purposes. Representatives from the cycling community are in contact with the property management company and are working hard to find solutions to maintain access, and we will update via Facebook and the internet as things progress. Please be respectful of the business owners at the Plaza; getting confrontational will not help us secure access.
If you want to ride at Honeybee, you still have some parking options. First, you can park at the official Honeybee Canyon Trailhead (directions are here: https://www.orovalleyaz.gov/parksan…/…/honey-bee-canyon-park). While there is limited parking here, there are also bathrooms and ramadas available for use. Please do not stage large group rides here. Second, you can park at Oro Valley Bikes at 12925 N Oracle Rd, 2.3 miles east of the Honeybee trails access point. There is plenty of parking at Oro Valley Bikes. It will add a few miles to your ride, but give you a nice warmup before getting on the dirt. And finally, you can drive a few more miles north to W. Edwin Rd, hang a left, and drive west to the Windmill. Edwin is a dirt road, but passable for SUV’s and most cars. Make sure to pick up an AZ State Land Dept. permit, as the Honeybee Trails and Edwin Rd. parking are on State Trust land. Large group rides should plan on parking at Oro Valley Bikes or on Edwin Rd.
Access Issues at the Quiet Rain Dr. Access for Honeybee Trails:
Another long-time problem area is the trail access via Quiet Rain Dr. off of Rancho Vistoso Blvd. The Quiet Rain access point uses a utility easement between two subdivisions, and while it is technically an easement it is also private property. In the past, there have been complaints about mountain bikers, conflicts with hikers and property owners, and even roofing nails found on the ground (presumably to damage tires and keep mountain bikers from using the trails). Recently, the HOA who oversees the utility easement put up a sign limiting use from dawn to dusk (i.e. no night riding), prohibiting any organized races, and asking cyclists to be courteous. While we are working with the HOA to find a solution, we ask that folks respect the HOA’s request to avoid night rides until things get sorted out. Representatives from the cycling community met with the HOA on 3/16/16 to start the dialogue about preserving access through the utility subdivision, and we will provide updates as we get them. If you want to night ride at Honeybee, please access the trails from W. Erwin Rd.
For both issues, representatives are also in touch with Oro Valley Parks and Rec, Oro Valley Police Department, and the Town of Oro Valley to find solutions and advocate for permanent trailhead access. The sad reality is that, although we all ride and love the Honeybee trails, they are un-sanctioned trails on State Trust land and there is no guaranteed right to use them.
We appreciate your patience while we get things sorted out!