“A great way to ride many trails at Robles Mtn. with scree, climbs, switchbacks, technical climbs.”
— Bill Gillenwater
As Tucson Trails go, remember everything out there is trying to stick you, sting you or strike at you - adds to the excitement and challenge!
This ride is in southwest Tucson. Go west on Ajo from I-19. Cross Mission and continue up the long rise on Ajo. Near the crest you'll see a green roofed church on your left. This is Bilbray Ave. - turn south (left) onto Bilbray Ave. and go to Coyote Ridge Trail, a gravel road, turn left and take Coyote Ridge to a T. Go left as it immediately becomes a wide spot in the road with some parking before it turns into a driveway. Your Trailhead is an opening in the fence, there is no trail sign at this opening.
Although only 8.5 miles in length, this loop is a challenging way to ride some of the Robles Trails with scree trail base, climbs, switchbacks and nice downhills. You'll encounter a short technical climb early in the ride, the six switchback challenge up and down later and a long technical climb to the backside. Rusty Box Springs mound climb is a great way to test granny gear and youll finish off with some swoopy trail on your final grade up and out.
Need to Know
You may encounter bow hunters seasonally as well as horseback riders. The Robles Mtn. Trail area is well marked at all junctions.
You'll go under Ajo Rd. twice, once via the six foot underpass and return under the four foot underpass that gets even lower due to gravel washing in from summer storms.
After going through the open fence you'll be going left on Bittersweet
Trail, although no sign is there presently. At the top of a short climb you'll come across your first trail sign. Continue straight over the saddle on what is now Jericho Trail and down where you'll to under Ajo Way via the "6 foot" culvert.
Continue up Sunset Pass
Trail and stay right at your only trail split on the new climb. As you begin down there will be a trail going off to your left, do NOT take it, continue on down. this will take you to the "4 foot" culvert and you'll cross under Ajo Way again. This culvert often has gravel fill toward the far end making it difficult to ride through unless you're on a small frame.
As you come out of the culvert and head up your next climb you'll find your next sign where you'll now be on Ledge Surfer
. L.S. will take you to Camaro Loop
Trail - go left to ride it clock-wise. Here you'll come across the up/down switchbacks that we enjoy. This is a signed junction and the trail name is Rocky 13 Trail
. (Rocky 13 Trail
does continue on for a short section where it connects to a short loop - Creosote Loop which you can ride and will return you to the top of the switchbacks). Ride down the switchbacks to return to Camaro Loop
and continue on to Bittersweet
Trail junction which will take you to the left up a long grade/climb.
At the top of this climb you'll be looking down on Irvington Rd., which is the other border of the Robles Trails area. After dropping down on Bittersweet
you'll turn left onto Cascabel Trail
, signed junction, which is more fun to ride counter-clockwise, so watch for the beginning the loop after a very short connector, and go right. Cascabel Trail
is 1.5 mile loop with less than 100' of elevation change up/down as you ride it. You'll encounter the Rusty Bed Springs Mound climb challenge across from the actual rusty bed springs beside the trail about halfway around the loop. In how high a gear can you climb the mound? Don't look at the Prickly Pear Cacti going up - they have this giant magnetic pull drawing you over for a quick prick on your way up. Complete your loop with some S curve swooping turns and it's a short climb back to Bittersweet
Trail. Turn left onto Bittersweet
and soon you'll find yourself back at your vehicle.
This ride is most enjoyable November-March (after and before the heat of the desert southwest). Usually a 2-3 hour ride. As always possible in the desert southwest, you may be doing some cactus picking so carry your cactus kit - comb, tweezers, mini-pliers.
History & Background
This is one of Tucson's newest trail builds and recently signed. The trail system here is about 5 years old. You may see wildlife here even though it sits between two major roads.