Level: Beginner to Advanced (1A – 3C)
Special Note: There are many trails in the Starr Pass area, but as long as you know where you’re pointing, it’s almost impossible to get lost.
Tucson Mountain Park is an enormous area within the Saguaro National Park East that contains trails that will put a smile on absolutely everyone’s face. Whether you are looking to test your mountain biking wheels, take the kids for a ride, or do some serious lung-busting climbing and gnarly descents, Tucson Mountain Park has it all. There are plenty of campgrounds and picnic areas that provide restrooms and water, and you can also visit two of Tucson’s largest attractions: Old Tucson Studios (famous for many western movies) and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. There are many parking pullouts, most of which are within very close proximity to trails, or are trailheads themselves.
Generally speaking, Tucson Mountain Park’s trails are grouped very well into fairly definitive skill levels. As with many trails in Tucson, Tucson Mountain Park has it’s share of social trails, and most trails are not marked. That being said, it is very difficult to get lost in TMP… just remember the general area where you parked, and go!
Beginner Riders and Kid-Friendly: If you’re new to mountain biking or you’re looking for a great place to ride with your children, you’ll want to stick to the trails located West of Kinney Road (across from Old Tucson) and South of McCain Loop road. These trails are mostly flat, swoopy, with a few wash crossings. You’ll want to park at pullout K11, K14, or within the Ironwood Picnic Area. Trails such as: Ironwood, Kerr Jarr, Mariposa, Triple C, and Gates Pass, which would make a great “easy” loop.
Intermediate Riders: There is a lot to offer Intermediate riders, too so if you’re looking for this, stick to the trails North of Gates Pass Road and East to Brown Mountain. The trails at the Base of Brown Mountain are Intermediate, but the moment you start climbing Brown, you’ll quickly realize it gets Advanced, fast. To find some fantastic riding, park along any of the “G” pullouts along Gates Pass Road (most popular being G5), and string together a ride as long or as short as you want. If you’re looking for a longer ride, park in the Richard Genser trailhead in the Starr Pass area, and climb over the pass yourself on Golden Gate trail.
Advanced Riders: The only truly advanced trail in Tucson Mountain Park is Brown Mountain, and we’re not kidding when we say advanced. Steep, lung-crushing climbing, tight switchbacks, some exposure, brutal rock gardens, but it is OH so worth it. It’s not a fast trail by any means, but if you like the a serving of gnar with your cardio workout, ride this ride! Check out our specific Brown Mountain trail page for more detailed information, photos, and video.
Directions to Tucson Mountain Park: From I-10 head west on either Saint Mary’s Road or Speedway Boulevard. They will eventually merge at Camino de Oeste and become Gates Pass Boulevard. Enjoy the drive, because you’ll be heading through the Saguaro National Park, which is one of the most scenic spots in Tucson. Drive carefully, the road is narrow and can be dangerous if you’re gawking too much. Once you crest the pass and begin your descent, you’ll start to see pullouts on your right. See above descriptions for the various areas to ride depending on your skill level. The intersection of Kinney Road and Gates Pass Boulevard is at the heart of the trails.