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Southern Arizona: Azure skies, endless vistas hemmed with 10,000-foot peaks. Names out of a medieval fantasy: the Chiricahuas, the Dragoons, Catalinas, Rincons. This is the land of Geronimo, Cochise and 250-year-old saguaro cactus, where the sweet scent of desert creosote flower fills the air. Wildlife is prolific, from coyote to javelina, desert tortoise and rare birds. Bike sun-drenched bike paths and quiet side roads or try your legs and lungs on Mt. Lemmon. Hike through heart-stealing landscapes. Explore the fascinating Arizona-Sonora Desert, Saguaro National Park, Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns and plenty more.
National Parks on This Tour: Saguaro National Park ; Coronado National Memorial
Meet in Tucson. Bicycle into unforgettable West Saguaro National Park, where colossal cacti soar nearly fifty feet in height.
Meet at one of three designated pick-up spots in Tucson. Shuttle to the marvelous Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for a tour while your guides prepare your bikes for the week. Pedal quiet roads through West Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain Park. Shake hands (metaphorically speaking!) with towering, some claim mystical, saguaro cacti – undisputed icons of the Sonoran Desert and a universal symbol of the American Southwest. We avoid the busy streets in town by following a delightful series of bike paths along the Santa Cruz and Rillito riverbeds on our way to the acclaimed Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, where we will spend the next three nights. 42.2 miles · +2,031 ft / -1,902 ft
Explore Saguaro National Park East's Cactus Loop and ride through the singular cacti forests of the region.
Today, enjoy more tranquil bike paths on your way to explore Saguaro National Park East. The 8-mile Cactus Forest Loop takes you on a cruise through the rare saguaro forests of this area. Stop here and there to take in views of the Rincon and Santa Catalina Mountains that surround the valley. Following a gloriously gourmet picnic lunch, ride back to Loews or hop in the van to shuttle back if you wish. Whatever you choose, you may want to save time for a visit to the marvelous Tucson Day Spa, located onsite at Loews. Dinner is on your own at Loews or the hotel will shuttle to nearby restaurants if you prefer. AM ride: 26.6 mi. +1,479 ft / -1,319 ft. PM ride: 20.9 miles · +859 ft / -998 ft (optional)
You have a hard choice to make today – a hike into Ventana Canyon, or a challenging ride up Mt. Lemmon…? Lunch is on your own today.
Ventana Canyon's accessible-but-untouched state is something of a rarity. For years it had few visitors because one had to get permission from private landowners to reach it; only recently has an easement for the general public been acquired. So, today, hike into the Catalina Mountains – through hillsides forested with saguaro, ocotillo, prickly pear and fragrant mesquite trees, high into this gorgeous canyon with its magnificent views. Watch for hummingbirds and bighorn sheep!
If you prefer the cycling challenge, ride all or part-way up Mt. Lemmon – one of the biggest mountain-climbs you can tackle on a road bicycle. The good news is you don’t need to go all the way to the top for great vistas. Some of the best viewpoints occur after just a few miles of the climb! The whole round trip tallies some 76 miles with over 7400’ of climbing. Ouch.
Surprises, surprises - today is full of 'em, from the Elgin-Sonoita wine region and a refreshing mountain reservoir to an inn known for its hundreds of butterflies.
Today holds plenty of surprises – the first being Elgin, Arizona, whose rich soils are almost a mirror image of those in Burgundy, France. The wide-open spaces and sparkling skies of the upscale Sonoita area provide rich terroir for grapes – and countless other flora. Cycle a lonely road through Coronado National Forest to a refreshing mountain reservoir. Spend two nights at Casa de San Pedro, home to over 355 species of birds and hundreds of butterflies. Enjoy a family-style Mexican dinner tonight. 44.1 miles · +3,343 ft / -3,551 ft (or shorter)
Pedal to scenic Coronado National Memorial for lunch and a tour. Enjoy the park, then cruise back to Casa de San Pedro for a second night.
Today, pedal back in time to Coronado National Memorial for lunch and a tour. In 1540, the expedition led by commander Francisco Vazquez de Coronado arrived, bringing hundreds of Europeans, Aztec/Mexica allies, and scores of servants and slaves. Their arrival left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of this region - and sparked an era of cultural fusion. Explore the park, then after a picnic lunch, ride back for another night at tranquil Casa de San Pedro. 44 mi. +2,367 ft / -2,368 ft (or shorter)
Bicycle side roads to historic Tombstone then on to Kartchner Caverns, a stunning limestone cavern system.
Bicycle side roads to the Old Wild West in Tombstone. Once you've had your fill of this frontier boomtown, continue on to Kartchner Caverns, which boast world-class cave formations considered to be the best of their kind in the entire world. This cave was kept a secret for 14 years to protect it. In 1985, Governor Bruce Babbitt secretly left the state capitol with two bodyguards and spent three hours crawling through the cave's tight passages to reach the cave's showcase chambers, including the Big Room, Echo Passage and Cul-de-sac Passage. Open only since 1988, it is now a fascinating state park. Explore the caves, then head back to Tucson for your re-entry into the real world. 29.5 mi. +1,157 ft / -829 ft
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.