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  • Sweetwater Preserve in 'top 5 scenic mountain bike trails in the western USA'

    Jun 11, 2014 | Read More News
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    Mountain bikers voted Pima County’s Sweetwater Preserve into fourth place in Singletrack.com’s “most scenic mountain bike trails in the western USA” online poll.

    Sweetwater PreserveNearly 1,300 people participated in the poll, and Sweetwater snagged 180 votes to push Monarch Crest Trail in Salida, Colo., into fifth place.

    The top three vote getters are:
    1. Tahoe Rim/Flume Trail in Incline Village, Nev.
    2. Trail 401 in Crested Butte, Colo.
    3. The Whole Enchilada in Moab, Utah

    The Sweetwater Preserve is 880 acres in the eastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains of Southern Arizona, west of Tucson, about a half mile from Saguaro National Park’s Tucson Mountain District.

    The lands that comprise the Sweetwater Preserve were acquired using monies from the voter-approved 2004 Open Space Bond measure.

    Eleven miles of trails wind through small drainages and switchback up hills. The Saguaro Vista Trail starts at the trailhead parking lot. Iconic cacti tower above the trail until it reaches the Black Rock Loop. The wide Black Rock Loop meanders about one and a half miles over gently rolling hills.

    Pima County staff and volunteers created Sweetwater Preserve trail system using sustainable trail siting practices and using small parts of the existing trail system. There are several loops with signage at each trail intersection so hikers and mountain bikers can’t get lost. The trails are sustainable, meaning that they aren’t washed out during even the heaviest rains.

    Sweetwater Preserve trails are open dawn to dusk to all non-motorized uses, and dogs on leashes are allowed. The trailhead parking area is at 4001 N. Tortolita Road, about one mile south of Camino del Cerro. There’s ample parking for horse trailers and cars.

    For other information about Pima County parks, preserves and trailheads, please visit the Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation website.