Gates Pass -> McCain Loop

A moderate climb with stupendous views.

Road Biking Moderate

48 km
680 m
680 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
706 m
High Point
967 m
Gates Pass -> McCain Loop Map

While the climb up Mount Lemmon is easily the most renowned road ride in Tucson, if you’re looking for a more moderate amount of climbing that’s more easily accessible from downtown, head west to Gates Pass in the Tucson Mountains instead.


Gates Pass twists and turns up and over the low mountain range and provides jaw-dropping views along the way! Towering saguaro cacti, majestic cliffs, and steep-sided mountains will keep you visually engaged the entire time.

Since the road is so tight and twisty, speed limits are low and traffic is forced to slow down. However, the flip side of that coin is a combination of blind turns, short sight lines, and a non-existent shoulder. Be sure to ride defensively, as tourists especially have a propensity to stare off at the views while they drive, instead of the road.

If you’re looking for some additional mileage, consider riding the McCain Loop on the far side of the mountains multiple times, or in both directions.





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

Similar routes nearby

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