Burro -> Mustang -> Javelina Loop

Not up for the full Tortolita Mountains Loop? Try this shorter version on for size.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
17 km
Ascent
719 m
Descent
719 m
Low Point
811 m
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Burro -> Mustang -> Javelina Loop Map

Description

The Tortolita Mountains Loop includes almost this entire ride and more in a lengthy big mountain ride through a shockingly remote pop up mountain range. But if you're looking for a shorter adventure that still maximizes the technical difficulty, try this loop on for size.

The Tortolita Mountains are located on the north end of the Tucson Metro Area. While this ride departs directly from a subdivision and a Ritz Carlton hotel, you'll quickly climb into a wild, undeveloped mountain range, prompting you to quickly forgetting that you're right next to the city.

After departing the trailhead, you'll pedal through sandy washes before reaching a mandatory hike-a-bike. This rocky stair-stepped ascent is pretty damn brutal, but rest assured: it's over rather quickly. After cresting the initial hike-a-bike climb, you'll be back on the bike pedaling through up-and-down technical singletrack on your way to the far reaches of the loop. If you're not turning right on Ridgeline for the long loop, turn left instead to drop down and cross the wash.

On the other side of the wash, the route ascends a steep, technical climb on its way to the marquee descent down Wild Mustang and Upper Javelina. Some riders will be able to pedal this climb, while others may resort to hike-a-biking.

Based on the steep hike-a-bike that you began the ride with, you might fear that Upper Javelina will be downright unrideable. But rest assured: while this is no doubt a challenging black diamond descent, Upper Javelina is quite achievable, with well-built corners, fun rock gardens, slabs, and drops. It's an excellent tech-gnar rip back down to the valley floor.

Once at the bottom, turn left to pedal back to the parking lot where you began.

This loop gets a fraction of the traffic of other trails in the Tucson area due to the difficulty and remoteness, but the beautiful mountains and rad descents are well worth the effort required!

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Technical
  • Hike a bike
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Drops
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area