“A remote and challenging loop in the foothills near the Mexican/US border.”
— Kirk Astroth
This loop through a little-visited part of southern Arizona is a great ride but not for the faint of heart. You should not ride alone here because of its remoteness and its location near the border. Even the Border Patrol don't visit here often.
Need to Know
Be sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen, and food for this ride. The area is very isolated and not well traveled.
Most of the trail follows Forest Service Road #217. The ride is on doubletrack following old roads that served the mines in the area through hills and valleys. There is no cell phone service, no water and not much chance for help. Watch your speed on some of the rocky downhill sections.
At about 4,500 feet, the trail is a nice alternative from Tucson's summer heat but it is still dry and hot here for much of the year. It is a great ride in the winter.
You'll have great views into Mexico during the first part of the ride. You'll also come across several old mine sites and the abandoned trailers of the old prospectors. At about 10 miles, you'll come to an old dam built in the 1920's that served the old mines. Eventually, you join the old Ruby Road and head back to where you parked at the trailhead.
History & Background
The area is full of old mines from the 1920s and most of the roads were built to get into these mines. You'll see lots of evidence of old mines, prospector shacks and mining equipment along the way as well as abandoned cars and trailers.