Gardener Canyon and the Arizona Trail


A rare, unusually long mountain bike ride that encompases the entire day. A self-supported trip is a must. Getting lost is a common characteristic of any epic ride.

Today's ride was supposed to be epic. We packed the Camelbacks full of all the usuals: 100 oz of water, PB & J lunch, granola bars, crasins, first aid kit, compass, map, CO2, 3 tubes, multitool--you know, everything you need if you expect to ride for a LONG time.

In the interestest of both Cribb and myself, I suggested that we ride somewhere NEW around Tucson. Another mountain range for a change. You know, because the Catolinas have been boring so far (in comparison to what is tome come....).

So we decided on the Santa Rida mountains south of Tucson. But still only 1 hour away. 30 miles from the border of Mexico. Wilderness. Very cool.

But the landscape was amazing--where did the desert go? At 5,500 feet in the foothills of the Santa Rida's, only grasslands and trees were to be found. No cacti. No sand. All green plants and rocky singletrack and jeep trails, complete with tons of our very best friend--climbing!

We snaked through 4 miles of uphill jeep trails until we hit a "ghost" town called Kentucky Camp. Turns out that this "ghost" town was more of a restored tourist attraction than anything else. Not worthy of any pictures. But the Arizona Trail happens to run through this belated ghost town, where we happily joined its tight, rocky singletrack path for 8 miles.

The path, unfortunately after some great sections of trail, ran into a dead end. Trail closed. Bummer. Instead, we hiked up into the wilderness area in the foothills of the Santa Rida's--and were rewared with breathtaking mountainus views in every direction. Lunch time!

Unfortunately, all of the rest of the Arizona trail is closed to bikes. So it was time to ride back to the trailhead--all downhill, I may add!

Overall, Gardener Canyon has some great trails very worthy of your time. After 3 hours today of moderate to base intensity, I'm ready to tackle the Tucson mountains--yet another mountain range in the area--tommorow. Then it's off to Sedona for 2 days of red-rock fun.

Hope the snow is treating you well--it certainly is here!


roland said...

Tucson is awesome. Don't expect the weather to be the same in Sedona! Don't get sunburned!


Ryan Baumann said...

Chek the weather forcast Roland...Sedona is hot and dry for Friday and Saturday. What else would we expect? Rain? Not for the last 85 days down here!