The Tucson region has more than 400 miles of rideable trail, which means that mountain bikers can ride in everything from iconic Sonoran Desert landscapes at Sweetwater and Starr Pass to steep and rugged mountain trails at 9000 feet on Mt. Lemmon. All of Tucson’s non-wilderness trails are multi-use, which means that they are open to mountain biking, foot travel, and equestrian (horseback riding) use. Cyclists, hikers, runners, and equestrian users all love our trails, and basic trail etiquette helps everyone have a safe and positive experience.
The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has developed “Rules of the Trail,” a set of suggested guidelines to help mountain bikers share multi-use trails with other users, which are summarized below.
- Ride on open trails: Only ride on officially designated trails. If you don’t know if a trail is official, check with your land manager. Avoid shortcuts and unsustainable B-lines.
- Leave no trace: Leave public lands better than you found them. Pack out tubes, goo packets, and micro-trash. Don’t ride on wet or muddy trails!
- Control your bicycle: Ride at safe speeds, and be prepared to stop at any time. Remember that while you may know you’re in control, other users may not.
- Yield appropriately: Yield the trail to other users, and say “Hello” as they pass. Uphill riders have right of way unless otherwise marked. A bike bell is a great way to notify other users that you want to pass.
- Never scare animals: Riders must take care to not scare domestic or wild animals or livestock. When yielding to equestrian users, make sure to talk to the horse and rider as soon as you see them, and stay where the horse can see you to avoid spooking it.
- Plan ahead: Bring all the equipment and tools that you need, including lots of water, a tube, and pump/CO2. Do your homework about route, weather and potential safety risks. Be safe!