Picturesque trails attract cyclists to Southeastern Arizona year-round

Throughout Cochise County, dramatic elevation changes and great weather create the perfect conditions for epic bike rides. Choose challenging mountain trails with steep climbs and tight switchbacks; miles of hard-packed gravel roads that race through native grasslands and ghost towns; or remote ribbons of highway that connect some of Arizona’s most character-rich towns.

Recreational cyclists can get bikes and all the gear they need from area outfitters to set off into the backcountry. Cyclists who experience Cochise County agree the cycling culture encountered at area coffee shops, breweries and restaurants is every bit as entertaining as the rides.

Visitors find three distinct ways to explore Cochise County on two wheels and can choose from dozens of astonishing trails.  

ROAD BIKE

Road cyclists who visit Cochise County often begin their outdoor adventures in Sierra Vista, which maintains more than 30 miles of paved paths and roads. Shorter rides can take you up to Ramsey Canyon Road where you can enjoy the Ramsey Canyon Preserve and see deer, wild turkeys, coatimundi and up to 14 species of hummingbirds – the reason why Sierra Vista is known as the “Hummingbird Capital of the United States.”

Longer loop rides begin and end in Sierra Vista and take riders though scenic grasslands and past many of the county’s vineyards and historic attractions. Some of these routes include the Bisbee Loop and Tombstone Loop trails, which reach up to 60 miles, plus the Coronado out-and-back trail, which totals about 40 miles. Taking Highway 90 to Kartchner Caverns is another loop-ride opportunity — with a stop at the famous caves, of course. Discovered in the mid-1970s by college kids, Kartchner Caverns did not become a State Park until 1999 because all parties involved wanted it protected. As a result, the massive limestone cave is a living cave with stalactites and stalagmites still growing drip by drip. For more insider tips on which stretches of highway and local roads combine to make the ultimate Cochise County loop trails, download the Bicycle & Multi-Use Path Map.

GRAVEL BIKES

For cyclists who prefer gravel bikes, Cochise County offers many impressive options. Outside of Sierra Vista, Montezuma Canyon Road rolls through the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains and the valleys of Coronado National Forest. The area is covered in pinyon pines and junipers framing the gorgeous view of San Rafael Valley. Eventually you will come to a fork in the trail. If you take a right at the “Y,” it rolls downhill towards Parker Canyon Lake through Montezuma Pass. Parker Canyon Lake offers both cold and warm water fish species, including stocked rainbow trout and resident bass, sunfish and catfish. The Marina offers boat and kayak rentals, fishing licenses, camping and fishing gear, and delicious ice cream bars.

A “Wonderland of Rocks” is waiting for you to explore on Pinery Canyon Road. This Chiricahua Mountains trail has steep climbs and switchbacks over its 28 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation change. It runs from the Chiricahua Mountains sign to Pinery Canyon and heads through Onion Saddle. While the trail is densely forested, you will be rewarded often with views of the magnificent scenery below. Visitors can also get a look at the region’s history, frozen-in-time along the Ghost Town Trail from Gleeson to Pearce. Discover remnants of the region’s past along the flat 13-mile trek with grand views of surrounding mountains. Expect to see more cows than people along the way.

MOUNTAIN BIKES

For cyclists who like to rattle their bones during a ride, the mountain ranges of Cochise County do not disappoint. Popular mountain bike trails in the Huachuca Mountains including Brown Canyon Loop — a 5-mile loop from the parking lot at Ramsey Canyon Road. You will experience a tough double-track climb and sweet single-track descent. The trail winds through grasslands and manzanita groves. You might even catch sight of a coatamundi or deer when you’re not holding on.

The 10-mile Cooper Loop Trail climbs 1,500 feet and is more challenging with advanced terrain to navigate. The Perimeter Trail is part of Cooper Loop. When you get directly across the Perimeter Trail, you’ll be greeted with a panoramic view of Sierra Vista’s neighboring town, Hereford. The trail shifts from stream crossings and shaded canopies to wide open desert, offering stunning scenic views. Head to the Santa Rita Mountains and the Kentucky Camp Trail for a striking ride through the foothills with plenty of areas to test your mettle. The combination of jeep roads and trails traverse oak woodlands and provide a great view of Mount Wrightston.

TO THE BIKE SHOP!

The best way to find local bike culture is to start at the local bike shop. These proprietors know the lay of the land and the best cafes, breweries and eateries to mingle pre- and post-ride with other cyclists. They often offer bike rentals and group rides, too.

Sierra Vista is a busy cycling hub year-round and Sun & Spokes Bicycle Shop and M&M Cycling have a wealth of insider knowledge to share. The old-fashioned Bisbee Bicycle Brothel is worth a visit, if only to pick up a t-shirt. Support local cycling culture during your trip to Cochise County.

RESOURCES

Looking for additional cycling information? Check out the resources below.

 

1 The Mountain Bike Project has details on Cochise County off-road trails. Visit
2 Trailforks is another searchable database of cycling trails in Cochise County. Visit
3 Gravelmap shows the top trails in Cochise County for hybrid and gravel bikes. Visit

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