Bicycling Arizona's Sonoran Desert (TourzPlus™)
Enjoy a diverse selection of routes through Saguaro cactus forests and expansive grasslands framed by rugged mountains. Enjoy a park ranger led walk, a private winery tour and luncheon, and a visit to one of the oldest Spanish missions in the Southwest offer insight into the regions history and natural world. Relax by the pool in the warm sunshine, hike, play golf, bird watch, and soak in the colorful Southwestern culture. Cycling routes include options for both intermediate and avid cyclists alike as the terrain is generally rolling with plenty of longer and more challenging options, including the famed 27-mile ascent of Mount Lemmon which towers above Tucson at 9157.
Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Tucson
Highlights: Bike fitting, welcome dinner
Your bicycle trip begins with an early afternoon airport pick-up at the Tucson Airport. Enjoy a warm-up ride before settling into your room and enjoy the pool and grounds. Daytime temperatures are typically in the mid 60's to low 70's and the weather is wonderful for outdoor activities. Following an introductory meeting, get acquainted with your fellow travelers during a private welcome reception and Sonoran dinner.
Test Ride: 6-15 miles
Day 2: Saguaro National Park - East
Highlights: Saguaro National Park
This morning you'll have a spectacular introduction to the Sonoran Desert. The giant saguaro along with dozens of other types of cacti, are ever-present along our quiet route through the Park. During the afternoon you can choose between a 2 to 8-mile walk through a gorgeous nearby canyon, relax by the pool or indulge in a spa treatment. The canyon walk follows a creek that provides an oasis for wildlife. Dinner is together.
Distance: 7, 27, or 43 miles.
Day 3: Tuscon Mountain Park and Arizona Desert Museum
Highlights: Gates Pass, Desert Museum
Visit Saguaro National Park's western expanse on a ride that winds through Tucson Mountain Park and impressive Gates Pass before descending into sweeping stands of cactus. The desert landscapes are particularly striking during today's rides and the "forests" of giant Saguaro cactus - the iconic symbols of the Southwest - stretch for miles. Opt for an extended ride or visit the amazing Arizona Sonora Desert Museum housing more than 300 animal species and 1200 varieties of plants in a beautiful natural setting. Join a docent-led tour along the two miles of walking trails or explore on your own. This stunning outdoor museum is a must-see and features its own aviary and raptor free flight demonstrations. Hikers might enjoy a nearby trek that takes you high above the desert floor and offers a great opportunity for some off bike exercise. Following your visit to the Desert Museum, those up for a challenge can tackle the steeper climb back over Gates Pass and follow a section of Tucson's bike path system to visit a local microbrewery en route back to our hotel. Relax by the pool or soak in the hot tub following your ride.
Distance: 19, 28, 40 or 65 miles.
Day 4: Patagonia
Highlights: Grasslands and Grapes
The morning begins with a short shuttle out of town and the scenery quickly changes as cacti give way to sprawling grasslands. This is ranch country, the region where cows and horses vastly outnumber people. The high plains are punctuated by distant peaks and the wheat-colored fields lie in stark contrast to the mountains rusty hues. Roads are lightly traveled and the open vistas inspire a sense of freedom and "get away from it all" rejuvenation. And, while Arizona is not widely known for its wines, winemakers on this plateau have been producing them for nearly 30 years. Enjoy a private luncheon winery tour, and tasting at the winery that planted the first vines in the region. After lunch, continue to the tiny frontier town of Patagonia. A mix between old west and artists enclave, Patagonia's main street includes a bookstore, restaurants, saloon, and artisan shops. The area around the town is part of a highly regarded bird watching region and you might want to arrange for a guided tour with a local expert. Your lodging is the aptly named Stage Stop Inn as it was built to house cast members of John Wayne movies filmed nearby. Following dinner in town, you can venture over to the saloon for some local flavor!
Distance: 17, 42, or 67 miles.
Day 5: Patagonia to Tubac
Highlights: Scenery Abounds
Today's ride heads west and then north to Tubac. Visit the remains of one of the oldest Spanish missions in the region at Tumac´cori. The site is a National Historic Park and offers guided and self-guided tours through what was once a stop on the historic Camino Real. Tubac is the site of a former Presidio that was created to protect the nearby mission from continuous Apache attacks. Those who want extended miles on their bike will enjoy a beautiful ride to a remote lake. The winding route dips and climbs through unusual rock formations until it reaches the lake. Your lodging for the next two evenings is at the Tubac Golf and Spa Resort at Otero Ranch. This peaceful oasis features an outdoor pool, spa, golf course (Tin Cup was filmed here), shops and restaurants. Arrive early and hit the links or unwind in your luxurious hacienda before dinner. The fireplace in your room will take the chill off your evening - ok, it might add a little romance to it as well!
Distance: 17, 28, 36 or 60 miles.
Day 6: Arivaca and Tubac
Highlights: Arivaca, Tubac, golf, bike or walking options
Choices abound today! Get some more miles under your belt while riding to the tiny hamlet of Arivaca, spend the day exploring the sites around Tubac - one of the Southwests foremost towns for the arts, indulge in a spa treatment (appointments must be made several weeks in advance) at the resort, or play a round of golf. You might also enjoy walking the historic de Anza Trail that runs along the river. This section of the trail is part of a historic trek undertaken by 30 Spanish families in 1775 that concluded with the building of a mission and presidio in San Francisco. Tubac is full of interesting shops and galleries where you might find an antique Native American made bracelet or a pair of cowboy boots. The golf course is nestled among cottonwood and mesquite groves, and traverses the banks of the Santa Cruz River. If you missed the Tumac´cori National Historic Park or the Tubac Presidio on your ride into town yesterday, a visit to one or both might be of interest. Todays ride is a favorite for its rural roads and sweeping views where red rock mountains form an impressive backdrop to the north. Golfers can spend the day on the Resorts 18-hole course -- one of the best in the area. This evening, gather for your final dinner together in a private dining room at the resort.
Distance: 9, 30, or 60 miles.
Day 7: Tucson
Sleep in this morning and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, get in a few more miles, enjoy a massage at the resort's spa, a round of golf, or some last-minute shopping in Tubac's renowned artist colony. For those who choose to ride, an exhilarating climb to the visitor center of the Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in the Coronado National Forest caps off your cycling for the trip. The views from the top are sweeping and on a clear day extend into Mexico. Return to the Resort for showers before your leaders transfer you to the airport in Tucson.
Distance: 17 or 35 miles.
HighlightsSonoran Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Tubac, Hike in Sabino Canyon, Horseback ridingKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
IncludesUse of a quality 30-27 speed bicycle; 6 nights lodging; all meals except two lunches; Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum; horseback riding; shuttle to and from the airport in Tucson
Arrive/DepartTucson Int'l Airport (TUS) (Shuttle provided to and from the airport)
Total Distance54 - 240
Daily Distance25 - 45
Rating201-401 his vacation is well suited to leisure recreational riders as well as more seasoned cyclists. The terrain is rolling terrain with a mix of longer hills. Average daily mileage ranges from 25-65 with opportunity for additional miles on most days.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes Mar 5-11, 2017 USD$2895 USD$595 Book it Mar 12-18, 2017 USD$2895 USD$595 Book it Mar 19-25, 2017 USD$2895 USD$595 Book it Oct 22-28, 2017 USD$2795 USD$595 Book it Oct 29-Nov 4, 2017 USD$2795 USD$595 Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Your partner tour company holds the same standards in guidance and experience that I have come to expect from ExperiencePlus!. Thanks for the great trip!!!!Terry G., Annapolis, MD
My favoirte ride was on Day 5 and I loved hiking the hills at the ranch.Terance J., Royal Oak, MD
Biking in the Sonoran Desert is phenomenal. What we liked most - everything!Ellen & Al B.