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SDMB In the Know: Dispatch 1 - Land Managers 101

26 Jun 2019 3:29 PM | Anonymous

Welcome to the first dispatch of SDMB’s ongoing “In the Know” series, where we break down the rules, tips and tricks, and benefits and impacts of mountain biking, trails,  and outdoor recreation in the greater Tucson region. In Dispatch 1, we break down the agencies that manage the riding areas around Tucson as well as the rules and regulations for riding in each of those areas. We hope that locals and visitors alike can learn something new and become more knowledgeable and responsible mountain bikers.

^ Riders enjoying the McKenzie Ranch XC Race Course

Mountain bikers in Tucson are privileged to count over 400 miles of rideable (non-Wilderness) singletrack within a 90 minute drive of downtown. With so much trail spread across so many different trail networks there are seven main land managers that manage multi-use singletrack. Those are 1) Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, 2) Coronado Forest Service, 3) AZ State Parks, 4) City of Tucson, 6) Town of Marana, 6) the National Park Service, and 7) the AZ State Land Department. See the map below to find out who manages your local riding network.

These diverse agencies present a diverse riding experience based on rider experience, desired terrain, and allowed tail users. Please read below for more info on and rules for each land manager with links to more information directly from those agencies. We hope you are able to learn the rules for your local riding areas and the resources to find out more information. And as always, remember to follow proper trail etiquette and Be Cool out on the trail!

1) Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation (NRPR) 

Pima County NRPR manages seven parks and preserves that allow mountain biking, which are broadly distributed across greater Tucson and offer many challenging and diverse riding opportunities for all ability levels. Click below for links to specific trail networks:

Rules differ by property and are briefly outlined below:

  • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on any Pima County trails
  • Dogs must be on leash (except at Starr Pass / Westside trails where they ARE NOT allowed, dogs ARE allowed at Robles and Enchanted Hills Trail Parks)
  • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
  • McKenzie Ranch XC race loop is clockwise only, non-bicycle users must travel counter-clockwise and yield to bicycles
  • For specific park rules click here

2) Coronado National Forest

The Coronado National Forest manages many miles of bike-legal trail (all trails outside of wilderness except where posted “closed”), which ranges from front-county singletrack to back-country epics. Much of the trail in the Catalina Mountains is rough and rugged, while the Santa Rita’s are quite a bit smoother. The 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail runs through both mountain ranges, with prime opportunities for long, rugged rides. The Tucson Off-Road Cyclists Association (TORCA)and Arizona Trail Association (AZTA) work to maintain trails on the Coronado National Forest.

Rules are the same across all forest lands:

  • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on any US Forest Service trails
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times
  • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
  • More information on USFS trails can be found here

3) Arizona State Parks

Arizona State Parks offers many trails statewide that are open to mountain bikes, however the two State Parks in the Tucson area are Catalina and Oracle SPs. Catalina SP is immediately east of Oro Valley and is commonly used to connect to the 50-year trail system, while Oracle is further north and represents great trails with opportunities to connect to the Arizona Trail.

Rules are the same across all State Parks:

  • E-Bikes ARE allowed on all State Park trails EXCEPT for the Arizona Trail
  • Dogs must be on leash near congested areas and trailheads
  • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
  • Pay attention to wilderness boundaries at Catalina SP, as many trails traverse or enter the Pusch Ridge Wilderness
  • More information on mountain biking in AZ State Parks can be found here
4) City of Tucson

SDMB has partnered with the City of Tucson to establish the 100-Acre Wood Bike Park! This will be Tucson’s first mountain bike specific bike park! This land is owned by the US Air Force and leased by the City of Tucson. 100-Acre Wood is a designated city park, and will contain trails and features designed to allow progression of all mountain bike users. Many of the trail corridors in Zones 1 and 2 are rideable while the bike park is under construction. For more information on 100-Acre Wood or to help out please visit

Rules at 100-Acre Wood are listed below:

  • Trails at 100-Acre Wood are bike specific, other users must yield to mountain
  •  bikers 
  • E-Bikes ARE allowed at the bike park
  • DO NOT STOP on any trail or technical feature, if you need to stop or have crashed quickly move to the side of the trail
  • Dogs must be on leash, but are not recommended
  • Stay on designated trails, please report any vandalism, trash, or homeless encampments to SDMB or City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department

5)     Town of Marana

The Town of Marana has a commitment to maintain outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. To that end, it manages two trail networks on the flanks of the Tortolita Mountains, the Dove Mountain trails and the Tortolita Preserve. The Dove Mountain trails are generally located to the west of and below the trails in the Tortolita Mountain Park managed by Pima County. These trails are accessed through either the Wild Burro or Tortolita Preserve trailheads.

Rules are the same across all Town of Marana trails:

  • E-Bikes ARE NOT allowed on trails managed by the Town of Marana
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times, clean up after your dog
  • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
  • For more information on Town of Marana trails click here
6)     National Park Service

National Parks typically do not allow mountain bikes on any trails, however Saguaro National Park has two trails that allow mountain biking! This access took much negotiation, so please follow all park rules so we do not risk losing future access.

Rules are the same across both bike-legal trails in Saguaro National Park:

  • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on either trail in Saguaro National Park
  • Dogs are NOT allowed on any trails in Saguaro National Park
  • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users, maintain low speeds
  • If limited parking is not available at trailheads, consider riding a different trail
  • Access to Cactus Forest trail requires paying the park entrance fee
  • More information on mountain biking at Saguaro NP can be found here
7) AZ State Land Department

There are multiple trail networks on Arizona State Trust lands managed by the Arizona State Land Department. None of these trails (except for the 50-Year trail) are legal, however they represent some of the most popular trail networks in the greater Tucson area. Access to these areas is tenuous at best, so self-policing is of the utmost importance to allow for continued future access. Please use legal access points and report any vandalism / issues to SDMB.

As these trail networks are not sanctioned (except the 24 HOP course) there are technically no rules for trails on AZ State Trust lands, however following these rules will help us maintain continued access:

  • Please use legal points to access the trail networks, please use the Big Wash Trail or Edwin Rd. to access the Honeybee Trail network and do not park at the Church on Oracle Rd. THE WAPA TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USERS
  • All users recreating on AZ State Trust lands require a valid recreation permit (except when on the Arizona Trail), and you must keep a copy of this with you when on State Lands
  • E-Bikes ARE allowed on State Lands
  • Stay on established trails, please report any vandalism, vegetation clearing, or creation of new trails to SDMB
  • DO NOT remove cultural artifacts or change/damage cultural sites in any way

Thank you for reading all the way through our first In the Know dispatch! If you have any questions about the agencies that manage your local riding area or the rules that pertain to using those trails please don't hesitate to contact us at SDMB.

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SDMB is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Tax ID#27-4499320)

PO Box 65075, Tucson AZ 85718

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