City Escape: Tucson, AZ

City Escape: Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ, offers on-road and adventure rides within minimal miles of the city. Tucson is in southern Arizona, between the Santa Catalina and Tucson Mountains. Mount Lemmon, Picture Rocks, Signal Hill, and the Saguaro State Park have cacti-lined roads and plenty of twisties.

Incredible landscape changes unfold as you leave the city and travel up the Catalina Highway. The Sonoran Desert gives way to alpine features and beautiful mountain views. Sandstone towers, challenging curves and many pullouts offer valley viewing and photographic opportunities.

Fall, winter, and spring offer pleasant temperatures for traveling. Summer temperatures begin to climb starting in June, reaching 100 degrees or more through early fall. Tucson is home to many artisans, songwriters, and southwestern cuisine—all of which you can find during the Fourth Avenue Street Fair in spring.


Approximately 160 miles

Lunch Stop

Bisbee Breakfast Club in the Catalina foothills offers American and Southwestern dishes, outdoor seating, and plentiful bike parking. Breakfast and lunch are served until 2 p.m. Find it at 4811 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ, (520) 329-8769.

Points of Interest

Gates Pass

Gates Pass is a wonderful road rising above the city. The surface is newly paved and the panoramic views at the top are spectacular. From Golden Gate Mountain across the valley to the Kitt Peak Observatory, Saguaro cacti frame the road. Traffic can be busy, but pullouts are frequent and offer fantastic photo and hiking opportunities.

San Xavier del Bac Mission

A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier del Bac Mission was founded as a Catholic mission in 1692. The current church structure was completed in 1797. The mission is open to the public for free tours and viewing. Find it nine miles south of downtown at 1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ.

Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon rises to 9,171 feet and forms the highest point in the Santa Catalina range. The peaks are visible from Tucson and riders can enjoy a 54-mile out-and-back loop on the Catalina Highway. The small vacation town of Summerhaven awaits you near the summit. The road is subject to closures during winter storms and skiing is offered at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley. Travelers can ride the chairlift to the top during spring and summer.