Cobre Ridge

Tucson, Arizona

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Way, way south, just minutes north of the Mexican border, there’s an endless maze of old mining roads, active and inactive mines, and ghost towns from the days before our national borders were so well defended. A hundred years ago, travelers would never have known when they had left Arizona and entered Mexico. Today, armed Border Patrol officers touring the length of the border will let everyone know when they’ve strayed too far—especially along Cobre Ridge. The ride through this portion of Coronado National Forest is as much a history lesson as it is a great bike ride in a little-used corner of the state. The forest roads once served the many small mines scattered throughout the mountain range—they still serve some mines, in fact, as squatters have claimed several mined-out holes throughout the area as their own. At about four miles into the ride, the trailer homes of these latter-day prospectors can be seen camped on the side of the road. While it’s all doubletrack, some of the downhills throughout the ride are fairly rugged and long. Don’t let your speed get away from you: You’re far away from everything in this corner of the state. There’s no cell phone service, no water, and not much to eat that won’t want to eat you first. Trail Surface: Doubletrack.
Mountain Bike America: Arizona

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Mountain Bike America: Arizona

by Paul Beakley (The Globe Pequot Press)

Way, way south, just minutes north of the Mexican border, there’s an endless maze of old mining roads, active and inactive mines, and ghost towns from the days before our national borders were so well defended. A hundred years ago, travelers would never have known when they had left Arizona and entered Mexico.

Today, armed Border Patrol officers touring the length of the border will let everyone know when they’ve strayed too far—especially along Cobre Ridge. The ride through this portion of Coronado National Forest is as much a history lesson as it is a great bike ride in a little-used corner of the state. The forest roads once served the many small mines scattered throughout the mountain range—they still serve some mines, in fact, as squatters have claimed several mined-out holes throughout the area as their own. At about four miles into the ride, the trailer homes of these latter-day prospectors can be seen camped on the side of the road. While it’s all doubletrack, some of the downhills throughout the ride are fairly rugged and long. Don’t let your speed get away from you: You’re far away from everything in this corner of the state. There’s no cell phone service, no water, and not much to eat that won’t want to eat you first. Trail Surface: Doubletrack.

©  Paul Beakley/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Tucson
Distance: 14
Elevation Gain: 2,064 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Technical Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 4,250 feet
Top Elevation: 4,520 feet
Local Contacts: Coronado National Forest
Local Maps: USGS Bartlett Mountain, Ruby
Driving Directions: Directions to Cobre Ridge

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May 2018