Clark Spring Loop
Sierra Vista's marquee trail offers gorgeous views and a ripping descent!
Mountain Biking Difficult
- 15 km
- 491 m
- 491 m
- 1-2 hrs
- Low Point
- 1.6 km
- High Point
- 1.9 km
The loop ride begins from a trailhead on Carr Canyon Road with a grind up the gravel road for about 1.7 miles, gaining the majority of the elevation for the ride (but not all). It is also possible to shuttle up this section of the dirt road, although the climb is fairly achievable and rolls by quickly.
Once on the Clark Spring Trail, the climb continues for another half a mile, but in the meantime, the views truly open up! As you round a bend in the trail, you'll be greeted by spectacular views of Miller Peak soaring high above.
After that half-mile of climbing on Clark Spring, you'll drop into a fantastic, rolling descent that runs along the side of the mountain, alternating between flowing downhill benchcut singletrack and some steeper switchbacked turns. You'll start to get a feel for the rockiness of the route, with some entertaining rock gardens and boulders to negotiate. Be sure to follow the bike-legal trail in this section, which drops lower down the mountainside to avoid the Wilderness boundary. (It will be the left turn at the fork.)
After ripping down into East Miller Canyon, the descent will continue along a superbly rocky creekside trail that crosses the creek in a few places. There are a few fun hucks and kickers along the way, mixed in with good old-fashioned rock gardens.
While this ride is fairly rocky, the rocks are pretty reasonably-sized and don't require extraordinary skills to overcome. Most upper-intermediate riders will have no problem with this trail, and thus it gets a "Difficult" FATMAP rating. That said, this ride does toe the line between "Difficult" and "Severe," and riders unused to rocks may struggle. On the flip side, riders used to the brutally technical singletrack found on the Arizona Trail and on many of nearby Tucson's famous rides won't blink at the rounded river rocks on this route.
At the lower trailhead for East Miller Canyon, take a left and recross the dirt road to pick up the Perimeter trail. From here, you'll do a modest climb along the bench and roll into some up-and-down trail before enjoying one final fantastic downhill romp back to the trailhead, complete with a few sweet rock slabs. At the time of this writing in winter '22-'23, this section of singletrack had seen some great trail work and minor reroutes, making for a fantastic mountain bike ride.
While Sierra Vista might not have much singletrack to go around, this gorgeous loop is worth the visit all on its own!
Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.
Best time to visit
- Rock Rolls
- Rock Slabs
- Rock Gardens