Most locals love Aspen Draw
, but many of us also like to start a bit higher up and tie in Aspen Meadow Trail as a loop. It ads some beautiful scenery, a bit of chunky riding, and if you need a break, a very short hike to an old fire outlook post perched on an outcropping of rock with incredible views.
Park in Summerhaven and ride up the road for a great, lung-busting asphalt climb. Alternatively, you can shuttle up the hill with a vehicle. Earn that downhill!
A wonderful, cool ride, and fun descent, but not incredibly long. Almost eight miles WITH the steep asphalt uphill should you choose to hit the pavement first. Aspen Draw
is singletrack for almost all of the return downhill but because its so short, this is a loop you'll probably want to do twice. Ride it, eat in Summerhaven, and ride it again. It is 30 degrees cooler than the Tucson basin and feels all of it. 8,000 to 9,000 ft. elevation so the air is a lot thinner and you'll most definitely take notice of this.
The uphill on the little used road to the Observatory is fairly tough and the singletrack has some technical challenges (logs, roots, tree stumps, switchbacks, etc.) and it is multi-use so you WILL see hikers. Because this trail has many blind corners and invites lots of speed, please be very alert and cautious of other potential trail users, and yield to anyone coming up the hill.