Once you arrive to either district of the park, you can get around by driving, biking, hiking, or horseback riding.
Getting around the Rincon Mountain District (East):
Driving- Trailers longer than 35 feet or any vehicle wider than 8 feet are not permitted on the winding Cactus Forest Drive (East side). The Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive is a paved, combination one- and two-way road that lacks parking for RV's and larger vehicles. The Loop Drive features several trailheads, scenic vistas, and pullouts in a total of 8 miles (12.9 km). A guide to the natural and cultural history of the Cactus Forest Loop Drive is available for $2.00 at the visitor center (this is a guide not the park pass).
Biking- Bicycling is allowed on the 8 mile Loop Drive as well as on two trails within the park. The Loop Drive is narrow with many tight turns and steep hills. Use extra caution when approaching the first steep downhill after going through the entrance station! Bicyclists must obey all posted speed limits and stop signs. Bicycles are not allowed in front of either Visitors Center or on the Educational Plaza (East Side).
Mountain biking- Trail riding is permitted only on the 2.5 mile (4.0 km) multi-use portion of the Cactus Forest Trail, which is circled by the Cactus Forest Loop Drive. The trail may be ridden in either direction, but you may not ride against traffic on the one-way portion of the Cactus Forest Loop Drive if you exit the trail on the north end. Trail riding is also permitted on the 2.9 mile (4.7 km) Hope Camp Trail. Click here to go to the Biking Page.
Hiking- To reach the hiking trails from the visitor center, you must drive into the park on the Loop Drive. The first trailhead is accessed in about 2 miles and begins at the Mica View Picnic Area. There are several trailheads with parking off the Loop Drive. Trailheads are also reached from the east end of Speedway Blvd where it dead ends at the Douglas Spring trailhead; the Broadway trailhead; and from Camino Loma Alta, off Old Spanish Trail, about 7 miles south of the park’s entrance. Click here for the Hiking Page.
Multi-use Trail- The portion of the Cactus Forest Trail inside the Loop Drive is open to hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Stay Alert! Make your presence known to other trail users well in advance, particularly when approaching from behind. Cyclists yield to all other trail users and hikers yield to equestrians.
Horseback Riding & Stock Use- Horseback riding off-trail is prohibited. To protect resources and limit damage, livestock are restricted from certain trails entirely:
Getting around the Tucson Mountain District (West):
Driving- The Scenic Bajada Loop Drive is a popular way of exploring the district’s foothills. This unpaved, combination one- and two-way graded dirt road offers scenic pullouts, picnic areas, and hiking trailheads in a 6 mile (9.7 km) loop. High clearance or four-wheel drive is not needed to drive the loop. Trailers longer than 35 feet or any vehicle wider than 8 feet are not permitted on the Bajada Loop Drive.
Directions to the Bajada Loop- The Loop begins at Hohokam Road, one and a half miles west of the Red Hills Visitor Center. Leaving the Red Hills Visitor Center, turn right onto Kinney Road. Follow Kinney Road 1.6 miles (2.6 km) to the loop’s entrance on the right.
The Loop ends where golden Gate Road meets Sandario Road. To return to the visitor center, turn left onto Sandario Road. Continue 0.2 mile to the junction with Kinney Road. Turn left. The visitor center is 2 miles (3.2 km) ahead.
Biking- Bicycling is permitted along the Bajada Loop Drive and Golden Gate Road (both roads are unpaved), as well as all paved roads. Bicycling is not permitted on any trails, except the 0.5 mile (0.8 km) Belmont Multi-use trail. Picture Rocks Road (on the north) is not recommended for bicycling for safety reasons. Click here to go to the Biking Page.
Hiking- Hiking trails can be accessed from several locations throughout the park, not including the visitor center. Check the map or ask at the visitor center for recommendations. Click here for the Hiking Page.
State Trust Lands- State trust lands are parcels of land within the park held by the Arizona State Land Department. A State Land Recreational Permit is required to hike in these parcels. For more information and to obtain a permit, call (602) 542-4631 or visit http://www.azland.gov.
Horseback Riding & Stock Use- Stock groups are limited to 15 animals. Stock are prohibited from off-trail travel. To protect resources and limit damage, livestock are restricted from certain trails entirely:
Last updated: November 15, 2019