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Big Bikes and Brutal Gnar: Best Enduro Trails in Tucson

Find maximum tech-gnar on Tucson's three best enduro trails.

Mountain Biking Severe, Extreme

Photo: Greg Heil


Tucson has long been known as a mecca for cross country mountain bikers and road cyclists seeking to train through the winter. But in recent years, Tucson has been gaining a reputation on the opposite end of the mountain bike spectrum, thanks to some of the most technical enduro trails in the United States.

The enduro riding in the region is dominated by two massive shuttle runs that drop off the top of 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon into the Sonoran Desert far, far below. The Full Lemmon Drop is the Mac Daddy ride, measuring 29 miles long and descending a gross 10,000 feet of elevation. The CDO Shuttle isn’t far behind, with 22 miles of trail and a gross drop of 7,400 feet.

While Tucson is known as a desert mountain biking destination, the upper reaches of these routes are only rideable from late spring through the fall, due to snowfall in the winter. And since you don’t want to ride in the low desert in the summertime, the short windows of optimal weather overlap restrict the season for the full shuttle runs. Fall is your best bet for dependable weather and trail conditions.

If you do travel to Tucson to ride gnar and the upper trails are snowy, head to Golder Ranch for delightful pedal-driven gnar and technical descending. With entertaining rock gardens, ledge drops, slickrock slabs, and more, Golder is a perennial favorite in the Tucson mountain bike scene.

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