City Escape: Tucson, Arizona

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This southern Arizona loop ride includes varied road types, picturesque scenery, and well-placed historic towns. Riders will get a taste of the Old West, peruse eclectic art, and enjoy rich desert flora and fauna. It’s a fall, winter, and spring ride since the summer temperatures in the southwest desert can be stifling.

Length

Approximately 210 miles

Meet-up Spot

Crying Onion Café, 3684 W Orange Grove Rd, Tucson, AZ

Lunch Stop

At Cafe Cornucopia one will savor the fresh food, diverse menu, and reasonable prices in a quaint setting in Bisbee’s historic district. Find it at 14 Main St, Bisbee, AZ, (520) 432-4820.

Scenery (5 out of 5)

An expansive mix of desert panoramas, cliff-lined mountain passes, and charming historic towns.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Tucson traffic can be moderate to heavy. Aside from tourist activity in Tombstone and Bisbee, the rest of the route is lightly traveled.

Difficulty (4 out of 5)

This is not a technically difficult ride. However, watch for rocks and animals in the mountains around Bisbee.

Road Conditions (4 out of 5)

Roads are well-maintained with ample signage.

Points of Interest

  1. Sonoita Vineyards, Sonoita, AZ
The area around Sonoita boasts several unique wineries. Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest and most famous. Every bottle of wine is hand bottled, labeled, and capped in small batches of less than 2,000 bottles per vintage. One of their award-wining wines has been served at a presidential inauguration gala; www.sonoitavineyards.com.
  2. Bisbee, AZ
Bisbee is a quaint, quirky old mining town. In its heyday, it was one of the world’s richest sites for minerals—producing three million ounces of gold and eight billion pounds of copper. It is now the home of art studios, brew pubs, and eateries all housed in turn-of-the-century architecture. Riders can view massive open-pit mines on the town’s outskirts, www.discoverbisbee.com.
  3. Tombstone, AZ
There’s no guessing why this town also refers to itself as “The Town Too Tough To Die” with the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday strolling the streets long ago. The name alone conjures images of shootouts, cowpokes, and ladies-of-the-night. The site of the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Tombstone plays its history to the hilt, www.tombstonechamber.com.