“An excellent ride on portions of the AZT - Passage 6 - Las Colinas.”
— John Geronimo
This is an excellent ride on the southern AZT, utilizing AZT - Passage 6 - Las Colinas
. It's the usual hill country amid white grass, low trees in spots, ocotillos and the occasional barrel cactus. The tread is good, with enough short rocky sections to add technical interest. Many of the switchbacks and v-turns into arroyos are rideable which gives the ride both variety and continuity. There are only two gates to open and close, plus the one at the north USFS boundary.
Need to Know
Access: You can drive up 341
(Helvetia Rd) and park along the arroyo. The next section south is AZ Trail - Fish Canyon Rd. to Helvetia Rd.
Head north from the trailhead on 341
, dropping over a hill into McCleary Canyon. Then climb over a ridge, drop through a saddle, and follow the trail alongside another ridge before dropping into Scholefield Canyon. A series of climbs and descents over low hills drops you into Papago Canyon.
At the top of the next ridge you'll follow a 4X4 road for about 1000 feet: junctions are well-marked. Next you drop into Mulberry Canyon on a series of steep but well-maintained switchbacks.
From here north the trail contours along the foothills of the Santa Ritas until it reaches the USFS boundary gate and another parking area beyond. You can complete this route as an out-and-back, or a shuttle.
If you're not ready to call it quits after this ride, the next ride north is the AZ Trail - Sahuarita Rd to Coronado National Forest Boundary