Downhill Saguaro National Park & Arizona Sonoran Desert Bicycle Tour 2022

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Celebrating 15 years leading bicycle tours in the best of all 50 states, where will you go next?
 
2022
 
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  • Cycle through the Arizona Sonoran Desert, an amazing experience and a great way to start off the new year with a perfect warm ride!
  • Unpack only one time! We stay at the same hotel for the entire bicycle tour.
  • We will see the largest cacti in the U.S. throughout the Saguaro National Park, visiting and riding through both the East and West parks.
  •  "The Loop," a completely paved bike path that encircles the city of Tucson and overlooks the Santa Cruz and Arroyo Chico rivers is located a few feet from our hotel.
  • The sites in the Sonoran desert are beautiful and although we are not climbing mountains, we are taking in all the beauty of the mountains, plains and foothills surrounding us.
  • Before we even see our first mirage, we will take in the two visually dominant life forms of plants specifically found in the Sonoran Desert: legume trees and columnar cactus/cacti from behind our handle bars
  • In addition, we of course will see two of the most well known artist and craft communities in Arizona: Tubac and Patagonia
  • Snack on some of the best homemade pastries available anywhere in the U.S. at the Tubac Deli & Coffee Co.
  • In addition take time to explore on your own the various tourist destinations in the Tucson area on your own, including Biosphere 2, which was originally built to show the viability of human life in outer space; Tombstone, know for its western history and the shootout at O.K. Corral reenactment; or if you are very adventurous climb/ride down Mount Lemmon.
  • The untouched beauty of the Arizona desert are sights to remember for years into the future.
Day 1, Saturday; January 15, 2022
 
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Check into the hotel throughout the day. Explore Tucson, Arizona, one of the most bike friendly large cities in the U.S. with designated bicycling streets and numerous bike paths and designated bike routes. Tucson is surrounded by saguaro (cacti) forests and mountain peaks with the excitement and amenities of a thriving city. Enjoy unique Southwestern cuisine, arts and shops. Visit the St. Philip's Classic Farmers Market in the plaza a few steps from the starting hotel. Meet around 4:30pm for the welcome meeting and dinner.
 
Dinner:
 
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El Corral
-One of the oldest restaurants in Tucson, dating back to the original restaurant on the site in 1926-

Tucson, Arizona

 
Salad:
El Corral Garden Salad

Entrée choices:
Prime Rib - Over 50 years of experience has taught El Corral how to make the most tender and delicious prime rib around. Slow roasted, we serve it with au jus and uncut horseradish.
Shrimp Special - Large shrimp grilled on our mesquite fire.
* Tucson Chicken Breast - Mesquite grilled chicken breast stuffed with green chilies and cheese
Salmon Fillet - A fresh cut of salmon served with lemon and butter

Lodging (for the entire bicycle tour):

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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center
 Day 2, Sunday; January 16, 2022
 
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The Loop Bicycle Path and San Xavier de Bac
 
Bicycle from hotel and immediately join "The Loop" bike path as we head to the awe inspiring beauty of the Mission San Xavier de Bac, riding primarily on bike paths overlooking the Rillito River and the Santa Cruz River. Make a stop at the Mission, known as the White Dove of the Desert, which can be viewed for miles before arrival. Stop to take pictures of the church, visit the gift shop or get a bite to eat at the many outdoor homemade pop-up restaurants. The church was originally built in 1783 and has never been completed; though, it has been in continuous operations.  
 
Bicycling Route: 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 18 miles, riding from the hotel and the bike path attached to the hotel's parking lot to Mission San Xavier Del Bac (mostly on bike paths) and taking the SAG vehicle back to the hotel; or 36 miles, riding to Mission San Xavier and back. [The route is basically flat.]
 
Lodging (for the entire bicycle tour):
 
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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center
 
Dinner: 
 
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Dolce Vita Bistro
Tucson, Arizona
-Authentic, home-cooked Italian cuisine for over 40 years-
 
Entrée choices:
  • Carbonara - Bacon ham, onions EVOO and eggs
  • Spaghettini - Served with your choice of marinara and meatballs; marinara sauce; meat sauce; garlic butter or marinara and mushrooms.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo or Fettuccine Primavera
  • Chicken or Veal Parmigiana - Breaded and topped with marinara and mozzarella
  • Homemade Ravioli (Meat or Cheese) 
Day 3, Monday; January 17, 2022

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Rio Rico
 
We head further south to Rio Rico, enjoying the desert views, while always viewing the mountains in the distance. Even see what appear to be mountains, but are actually two huge copper mines outside of Green Valley. Relax at the end of the ride in Tubac, which was established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio. Working artists with art galleries, working studios and gift shops now surround the area that once served as the home for a Spanish military garrison. Have a bite to eat at one of the many small locally owned restaurants including Tubac Deli & Coffee Co. that makes some of the best homemade pastries anywhere in the U.S. Take a little bit further ride and stop at Tumacacori National Historic Park, which was the first Anglo settlement in what is today's Arizona.
 
Bicycling Route: 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 30 miles, taking the SAG vehicle to Green Valley and biking from Green Valley to Tubac, riding on one of the most popular cycling routes in Arizona, including the spectacular 4-mile downhill on Helmet Peak Road; or 36 miles, continuing from Tubac on to Tumacacori National HIstoric Park and back to Tubac. [The ride on Helmet Peak Road is downhill with the remainder of the ride basically flat.]
 
Lodging (for the entire bicycle tour):
 
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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center
Dinner:
On your own.
 
Day 4, Tuesday; January 18, 2022
 
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Saguaro National Park (West) and Patagonia
 
Visit the part of Arizona with land that is virtually undiscovered and unbelievably beautiful. The climate is mild with lots of abundant sunshine and the terrain is high desert prairie grassland surrounded by magnificent mountains. We will ride from small town of Sonoita and head downhill to the gem of a small town: Patagonia, the laid-back, former hippie and now bird watching town of Patagonia. Have a bite to eat with many people choosing the Gathering Grounds, a delicious sit-down deli and coffee shop that is the most popular restaurant with the locals. After eating, we will take the vans to Saguaro National Park (West) to enjoy riding the famous 10 mile Cactus Forest Loop. 
 
Bicycling Route: 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 22 miles, taking the SAG van to Sonoita then biking downhill to Patagonia and riding the Saguaro National Park Cactus Forest Loop. [The ride from Sonoita to Patagonia is downhill and the ride within the National Park is a little hilly, but well worth the effort.]

Lodging:
 
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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center

Dinner:
On your own

Day 5, Wednesday; January 19, 2022

 
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Saguaro National Park (West) and/or Free Day
 
Today, we again transition into the unique beauty of the desert with mountains in the background. We start the ride from the on top of Gates Pass, overlooking the valley filled with Saguaro Cacti then ride to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Take optional stops to go through the museum and then ride onto the Saguaro National Park Tucson Mountain Visitor Center.
 
After the ride or instead of riding today take time on Wednesday to explore the various tourist destinations in the Tucson area on your own, including the eastern or western side of the Saguaro National Park, featuring, featuring large saguaro cactus; the Pima Air & Space Museum with 80 acres of aircraft or the additional "Boneyard" Tour featuring 4,000+ planes on 2600 acres (if you are visiting the "Boneyard," please contact them at least 10 days in advance to secure your place; Biosphere 2, which was originally built to show the viability or human life in outer space in an enclosed ecological structure; Tombstone, known for its western history and the shootout at O.K. Corral reenactment; or if you are very adventurous climb/ride down Mount Lemmon.
 
Bicycling Route: 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 12 miles, taking the SAG van to Gates Pass and then biking  to the Visitor Center and to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum  [The ride is downhill.]
 
Lodging (for the entire bicycle tour):
 
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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center
Dinner:
On your own

Day 6, Thursday; January 20, 2022
 
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The Loop Bicycle Path and the Pima Air & Space Museum
 
After eating breakfast, we ride around the eastern side of the city of Tucson on "The Loop" bike path, riding past 28 parks and following rivers on one of the largest connected bike paths in any city in the U.S. We end the ride at the Pima Air & Space Museum with 350+ Historical Aircraft spread across 80 Acres. In addition, take the "Boneyard" Tour features 4,000+ planes on 2600 acres (if you are visiting the "Boneyard," please contact them at least 10 days in advance to secure your place). After the bicycle ride, stay and explore the Museum or Boneyard Tour and then take the SAG van back to the hotel. Finally, join the group for the farewell dinner in the evening.
 
Bicycling Route: 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 27 miles, riding from the hotel to the PIMA Air & Space Museum.
 
Lodging (for the entire bicycle tour):
 
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Homewood Suites by Hilton/St. Philip's Plaza
-Located adjacent to "The Loop" Bike Path-
Tucson, Arizona
  • All suites hotel
  • Internet
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free light meal with free drinks during the weekdays
  • 2 fitness rooms
  • Full kitchen s
  • Business Center
Dinner:
 
Wildflower
 
Wildflower Restaurant
Ranked #10 out of 1600 restaurants in Tucson by TripAdvisor
Tucson, Arizona
 
Salad:
  • Spinach:  bacon, apple, pecan, blue cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
Entrée choice:
  • Fresh Pasta, Smoked Mozzarella Pansotti: crushed Italian tomato, pistachio pesto, garlic bread
  • Steelhead Salmon: horseradish gratin, sherry glazed beet, arugula
  • Pan Roasted Chicken: smashed potato, green bean, lemon & garlic
  • Braised Beef Short Rib: smoked cheddar grits, charred onion, roasted zucchini, mushroom.
  • Mesquite Grilled Cheeseburger: Wild mushroom, caramelized onion, swiss cheese, aioli
 
Day 7, Friday; January 21, 2022
 
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Wake up in Tucson and ride on your own throughout the city or enjoy the pool before heading home.
 

Please note all trip information is based on previous trips and/or contracted lodging and restaurants and is subject to change based on availability or specific trip needs.
 
Riding difficulty:

Riders who are comfortable riding at least 10 miles per hour should have an enjoyable trip. We have designed the routes utilizing bike paths wherever possible with the first and last day utilizing bike paths. Though we are surrounded by mountains the routes were designed to have very little climbing as possible since we are in the foothills. Of course, if a rider is tired or does not feel like riding, the SAG vehicle will transport the rider back to the hotel. All routes are on paved bike paths and low-volume roads. All riders may ride at their own pace, slow or fast.

Arriving by automobile:

Drive to the Homewood Suites by Hilton, Tucson/St. Philip's Plaza, 4250 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, Arizona, leaving your car at the hotel for the duration of the trip.

Arriving by Plane:
Fly directly into Tucson International Airport, then rent a car; or take Uber or Lyft to the starting hotel.
 
Deposit:
  • $200 to reserve your spot and the remainder due 45 days before the trip start.  
What's included:
  • Hotel lodging
  • Ride packets including maps & cue sheets (directions)
  • Fully sagged including ride leaders, luggage transport, van transportation and rider assistance.
  • Breakfast with the group each morning
  • Dinner with the group three nights (see above)
  • Fun and Enjoyment
Bicycles:
  • Most riders bring their own bicycles.
  • To ship your bike: we would suggest using shipbikes.com or bikeflight.com for shipping directly to the starting hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton, Tucson/St. Philip's Plaza, 4250 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, Arizona 85718
  • If you fly, most major airlines including Delta, American, United and Alaska Air now waive the oversize fee for bicycles (sporting equipment) and just the standard luggage fee applies. Please contact your airline for all the details.
  • To rent a bicycle, please contact Tucson Bike Rentals 520-260-8293
Weather in January in the Tucson area: 
  • Average High 66°F

 

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Vacation Bicycling, LLC
1860 Barnett Shoals Rd, Ste 103-514
Athens, GA 30605
Phone: 706-363-0341 or text; or email your question on our short Contact Form
 
Celebrating 15 years leading bicycle tours in the best of all 50 states, where will you go next?
 
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