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Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Marana, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
This section of the Tucson loop has beautiful mountain views to the north and east. It cuts right through the desert with lots of large cactus and no cars or other roads around. It is like a bike freeway. It is part of the entire Tucson loop so you can keep going around Tucson for about 100 miles.
Back in February of 2014 we completed a weekday morning ride from the Rillito River Park Access parking lot to trails end at Craycroft Road and then back.
Great Arizona winter weather, beautiful mountain vistas, artful bridges, and a fairly flat, smooth trail made this ride a delight (although we did notice it seemed ever so slightly downhill which made for some easy pedaling on the way to Craycroft Road).
The trail was especially popular with walkers, joggers, and roadrunners, so be alert.
It didn't take us long to complete the loop, so for a couple of tourists from SoCal we used the afternoon to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!
This trail starts right next to the fire station with a little dedication area to the barrio that was there before Tucson urbanized the area. The "trail" is a paved 2 lane walkway with benches and nice landscaping. Once you come upon the old railroad tracks there's another interactive area giving the history of the railroads that ran through the area. As you round the corner, there is a cute gazebo and a mural. This is a nice place to learn some Tucson history.
I love this part of the Loop bike system on the east side of Tucson. It's desolate in a wonderful way and makes for a great ride. A little bit hilly and it connects up to the Julian Wash Greenway if you're westbound. On the eastbound route, you connect to the Rillito River Path. You can stop for a water/bathroom break at Thomas Jay Park where Julian Wash Greenway starts. There are only a couple of areas where you have to cross the road, but really there is minimal contact with car traffic.
I would agree with the other reviewers. This is a lovely ride along the river. I started in the south just off the fwy. The trip up was head and cross winds. The weather started cool and cloudy but eventually cleared. There are many entrances to the trail. Some obvious and some not so obvious. I was not alone on this trail it is quite popular. There are a couple nice clean restrooms along the trail especially in Oro Valley Marketplace across from the Walmart. You’ll need to cross the street to get to it. Also, a couple nice pavilions along the way to rest or have a bite to eat.
On the south side of the Rillito the new overpass (It's steep with a sharp turn at the top!) is open over N El Camino de La Tierra. It's been open for more than a month now. The trailhead on the west side of the street (restrooms, hand washing facilities) has been repaved as well. CAREFUL==> As you pull back onto the trail be extra careful. It's a T intersection and cyclists maybe coming down the steep bridge going fast, and from the west cyclists may me building up speed to climb the steep overpass. Be extra careful and watch for traffic!
This trail, as noted, is part of what is called "The Loop" that is being developed by Tucson. It will eventually be 131 miles. They even have "The Loop" jerseys, arm warmers and leg warmers for sale! I stuck to the Julian Wash Greenway, but could have easily caught connecting parts of the trail. A woman who rode with me for a bit had already been riding 30 miles on the trails. I started riding at Thomas Jay regional park and went west. It goes about 9 miles west. The first parts are fairly scenic, passing 2 or 3 more parks, but then it gets a bit urban - having to cross several major intersections. However - the trail is very well marked, and the intersections are at traffic lights, so the crossings are safe. I then came back and went about 2.5 miles east. This again, was a bit scenic but not much. The pavement is awesome, it is nice and wide, with lots of friendly cyclists on the trail. Thanks to Tucson for doing this!!!
I was in town to ride in the 34th El Tour de Tucson, November of 2016. From the Candlewood Suites on River Road I connected to the Loop on the Rillito River Trail (from the parking lot!). I crossed to the south side of the Rillito at Camino de la Tierra (fast traffic, dump trucks, rough pavement...be careful!). On the Rillito I connected to the Santa Cruz Trail and rode north catching the CDO Trail just north of Orange Grove Road.
The trail heads NE and is generally a gentle uphill grade all the way to where I turned around at N Oracle Road. It wasn't exhausting, just constant pedaling. On a recumbent trike I wasn't going more than 6 or 7 mph, but that's what I like about the trike. I could focus on the vistas and just enjoy the ambiance of the ride especially the views of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
On the return I was now going downhill most of the way. I shifted into the big ring and cruised along at about 15 mph enjoying the self-made breeze. It was a Friday and traffic on the trail was light.
According to Strava I rode 28.6 miles at an average of 7.7 mph (max of 22 mph) climbing a total of 501 feet. The nice thing was expending the most energy on the climb and then enjoying the ease of the return trip. This trail is a fun ride.
Arrived in Tucson two weeks before the 34th El Tour de Tucson (early November 2016). I stayed at the Candlewood Suites on River Road. The parking lot adjoins the Rillito River Trail which is part of the Loop system. I used to ride my bicycle where the hotel now sits.
My trip was particularly nostalgic because I grew up within a mile of the hotel in the late 50s and early 60s. I was enjoying riding as well as being on home turf. It's changed a bit, indeed, but it was home to me. I hadn't had a serious visit in nearly thirty years.
The morning I rode the Santa Cruz Trail was cool, sunny and clear warming into the low 80s F. I rode NW via the Rillito, crossing over to the south side at N Camino de la Tierra (public street, fast traffic, dump trucks, rough pavement). Coming back up onto the trail there are restrooms and water. Continuing on NW I crossed under I-10 and connected with the Santa Cruz Trail heading back SE. The trail is paved and you will parallel I-10, passing businesses (trucking, sand/gravel, construction) until you reach Camino del Cerro where you cross (you hop into the median to cross, watch the traffic) and now parallel the river (east side). The views down into the river are majestic.
Side note: I find that people either love the desert or hate it. Maybe it's because I grew up here that sand runs in my veins and cacti permeate my dreams, but I love the Sonoran Desert. Seeing the giant Saguaro and other cacti, lizards, Gambel Quail, the Santa Catalina Mountains... Sigh..... Hey, I'm retired now and I'm moving here in time to catch the spring flowers. I don't mind the summer heat and I tell people that the frogs wear headbands and carry canteens. Some get it and some don't. 8-]
Back to the trail now. I continued on south along the river passing an impressive solar farm and a water treatment plant (didn't have to hold my nose). I passed under Grant Road, Speedway and St. Mary's all the way to Congress where I would have to cross Congress itself (near downtown) if I continued SE. At that point I crossed, in a bike lane, to the west side of the river and headed back NW.
The ride back north took me along the river in places and through some picturesque open spaces until I crossed again at Camino del Cerro. From there I backtracked to the hotel. It was a an enjoyable ride covering 26.5 miles at an average of 7.8 mph on my Catrike 559, according to Strava. When I return I'll be riding a Catrike Dumont. I'm counting the days.
There were no challenging climbs and the views were spacious. I enjoyed the ride and traffic on the trail was light since it was Monday. I recommend this trail for the views and the wide open spaces. In another several days I would be riding 37 miles in El Tour de Tucson. That's another story.
We started on the east end of the trail at the Michael Perry Park (nice park and plenty of parking). Rode to the west end of the trail. Path is plenty wide and smooth. Did have to detour to the west side of the "river" at Speedway, as a new main road bridge is being built across the river bed. The trail does end a short distance from the Tanque Verde road crossing. All the street crossings are under the main roads. Other trail users were generally friendly with a good morning. The east end of the trail connects to the Harrison Road trail. Over all enjoyed the ride. Would recommend this one while in Tucson.
We started at the park off of Craycroft road. Traveled by bike 8 miles to the west on the north side of the "river". Path is very nicely paved with wide and narrow sections. Some of the bridges are also narrow but have plenty of signage warning in advance. Only one street crossing required, with the rest going under the main crossing streets. As title states, lots of bike riders, walker/joggers and a few horse riders on the trail. Still was a nice ride and a smooth surface. Most of the folks passing did give warning but not everyone was so courteous.
Becareful when riding this one, lots of low hanging branches. Trail is nothing special and way over due some maintenance. One section had large cracks in the asphalt. Lots of trash along the trail and only recommend a day time ride thru this area. Only recommend this as a need some exercise and are in the local area. Otherwise skip it and check out one of the other Tucson rides.
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