Route Overview

Region

Arizona
New Mexico

Miles

283

Days Out

4-6

Physical Difficulty

4.5/10

Season

Spring
Fall

Elevation Gain

11,800' Westbound
13,800' Eastbound

Tire Size

≥ 2”

Technical Difficulty

4/10

Route Map

Route Details

The Chihuahuan Desert Connector links the WWR at Tombstone, Arizona to the GDMBR at Hachita, New Mexico, 154 miles to the east. The high desert riding is a mix of broad valleys, tall mountains, grasslands, and forests. This connector also includes a 130-mile-long western extension to Tucson that follows the WWR, providing GDMBR riders access to the city’s public transportation options. East of Tombstone, the route climbs past the ramparts of the Dragoon Mountains and Cochise Stronghold, crosses the sprawling Sulfur Springs Valley, and ascends into the Chiricahua Mountains. The stone pillars and Arizona cypress forests of Chiricahua National Monument are worth a stop along the way, and the flowing waters on the opposite side of the range near Portal are a desert oasis. To the east, the route is entirely paved to Animas and then Hachita, following a low-traffic road across the San Simon, Animas, Playas, and Hachita Valleys. Riding on this route tends to be fast on well-maintained dirt and gravel roads and pavement with just a few short rougher sections.

  • The rolling grasslands around Reddington Pass above Tucson
  • Riding through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area south of Benson (although the riding can be rough, riparian zones are particularly special in the desert)
  • Looking up into Cochise Stronghold while climbing into the Dragoon Mountains
  • The Arizona cypress forests and hoodoo rock formations in Chiricahua National Monument
  • The idyllic oasis of Cave Creek and the canyon at Portal on the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains
  • What kind of bike should I ride? We recommend a mountain or gravel bike with tires at least 2”.
  • What’s the ideal time of year to ride the route? Generally spring or fall, but it depends on the year. The route may be ridable in drier winters. See the route guide for more details.
  • How long will the route take to ride?  Generally 2 to 4 days from the WWR to GDMBR, and 4 to 6 days from Tucson to Hachita, but it depends on the rider.
  • Do I need any special permits? A Recreation Permit required for camping on Arizona State Trust Lands (https://land.az.gov)
  • Are there any specific safety considerations on this route? At lower elevations southern Arizona and New Mexico are dangerously hot during summer months. Tubeless tires with ample sealant are strongly recommended.
  • What is the longest distance between water sources? 75 miles. See the route guide for more details.
  • What is the longest distance between resupplies? 100 miles. See the route guide for more details.
  • Is it easy to find places to camp? Yes, dispersed camping is often relatively easy to find, but some routes also include some lengthy sections of private lands. See the guidebook for specific restrictions and suggestions.
  • Can I ride the route in either direction? Yes. However, the guidebook is written west-to-east.
  • How do I follow the route? These routes are not marked on the ground in any way. You will need to load the route data onto a GPS unit, or use the Bicycle Routes Navigator smartphone app.
  • GPS waypoints and PDF Route Guide
  • Or, find the Bicycle Route Navigator App in your phone’s app store

If you encounter any inaccuracies or changes please let us know at [email protected]

  • There are no route updates yet.
  • Kurt Refsnider for his route development.
  • Eugene Pak and John Schilling for their contributions.
  • The Adventure Cycling Association for partnering with us to develop this route.
  • Campfire Cycling, for their support in developing this route.
  • This route traverses the traditional lands of the Hohokam, Tohono O’odham, O’odham Jeweḍ, Chiricahua Apache, and Sobaipuri peoples.