The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

99° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Roll through three of Tucson’s best bikeways

Nick Smallwood

With the first semester of 2015 underway at the University of Arizona, the crowds are once again at an all time high. As of May, Forbes lists the total student population to be roughly around 40,000; an absolutely staggering number, and a number which is overall good for the university. Unfortunately though, a number like that can only mean one thing, crowds and lots of them. So for those of you who may be craving a bit of free air and have an appetite for bicycling, Tucson offers many paved trails which are perfect for those who want some time away from the crowds. Below are three of the top trails Tucson has to offer.

Tucson Urban Loop:

Offering over sixty miles of paved trails, the Tucson Urban Loop is an absolute gem when it comes to cycling. A favorite of U of A Cycling Club President, Joey Luliano, Luliano says that “The Loop,” which is made up of the Rillito, Santa Cruz, Julian Wash, and Pantano Wash paths, is his favorite.

“It provides a good variety of uses,you can ride all the way into Marana if you have an errand to do up there or you can hop on and do a bit over 60 miles with little to no interaction with cars.”

The Loop, which is the largest combined paved trail in Tucson, can be accessed from a variety of different locations, making it a convenient choice for cyclists. Furthermore, facilities along the trail such as restrooms and water fountains, serve as an added benefit to those who wish ride it. Additional information about the Tucson Urban Loop and how to access it can be found at

Aviation Bike Path:

Compared to the Tucson Urban Loop, this 9.1 mile multi-use path is a bit on the sketchy side, however, the trail’s relative proximity to the U of A makes it a worth-while option for those looking for a shorter route to ride.

Beginning near Iron Horse Park, Aviation Bikeway travels along Barraza Aviation Highway (thus where it get its name) and down Golf Links Road. Throughout your journey, you’ll wind your way through a rattlesnake shaped tunnel and over some small bridges and streams.

Overall, the condition of the path varies, with the surface getting noticeably rougher towards the end of the route, however, the unique, urban-esque atmosphere of this trail makes it a definite “must try,” for those craving a bit of adventure.

Sabino Canyon

While not exactly a path, this list wouldn’t be complete without including Sabino Canyon Road. Without a doubt the most scenic trail of the three, this beautiful 7.4 mile stretch of tarmac provides a one of a kind experience for those wishing to escape hustle and bustle of the city. Due to the fact that the road is situated inside Coronado National Forest, an entrance fee of $10.00 is usually required for adults and $5.00 for children, however, those who enter on bike are allowed to roll into the park free of charge.

“What makes this path different from others is the pure beauty of the surrounding area. Unlike most bike paths around Tucson, our road provides a great uphill challenge for cyclists looking to get in a hardcore workout,” said Gregg Sasek, Trails and Wilderness Field Manager at Sabino Canyon.

The park is open to riders before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and also includes water fountains and restrooms.

Overall, Tucson offers a vast array of satisfying trails to appease even the hungriest of roadies, however, the unique terrain, lack of cars, and varying lengths among these paths makes them some of the best in the city.

Before you take to the trails though, U of A journalism professor and avid cyclist, Michael Mckisson has a good word of advice: “Be weary of others,” he says. “Not only are the trails used by cyclists, but they are often occupied by runners, skateboarders, and pedestrians.”

So the next time you go out to enjoy a ride on one of the cities multiple bike paths, try to resist the urge to set the next time-trial record and just go out to enjoy the moment. It’ll give cyclists the good reputation they deserve and make everyone else a lot happier too.

Follow Nicholas Smallwood on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search