Sweetwater Preserve

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↑ 1,100 ft
↓ 1,100 ft
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4.43 out of 5
About This Trail
added by smorris Bunny Hop on January 12, 2009
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The Sweetwater Preserve features about eight miles of singletrack built by mountain bikers. A pristine piece of desert nestled between existing development, it is truly a gem and holds one of the densest collections of saguaro cactus in the Tucson area.

The singletrack begins to the right as you exit the parking lot. Stay right to enter a thick forest of saguaros. Look for a rare crested saguaro among them. At the top of a small pass, continue to the right on the "Black Rock" and "Sun Circle" loops. Hang on for a high speed blast through the Ocotillos on Black Rock, the longer of the loops.

After finishing the loops turn right to climb the semi-technical Lost Arrow Trail. At the next junction a left turn provides a more challenging option, Red Canyon Trail. Close the loop by descending the Wildflower Ridge Trail, enjoying birds eye views of the entire preserve.
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Recent Trail Check-ins
27 check-ins
1 week ago
on Feb 28, 2015
on Feb 27, 2015
on Jan 19, 2015
on Dec 29, 2014
Jimmywingnut on March 20, 2015
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Great day to ride. Flowers out and new section of trail was awesome!

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xavier61 on February 27, 2015
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: I rode Sweetwater for the first time today. The trail is remarkably well maintained, kudos to SDMB. Marking are very clear, no way to get lost in here. The trail is not just a MTB trail, it is multi-use. Be prepared for hikers, joggers and horseback riders at any point. Everyone I encountered was friendly. There is not a single direction to ride, so be careful as to who is around the corner. As a relative noob to MTB I really enjoyed some of the trails. A lot of rocks are in the trail. If you don't have the technique or the leg strength you will be doing a bit of hike a bike. Elevations are fairly consistent, no sharp inclines, but if you can't keep moving you will lose your momentum and be walking. I'll definitely be back again for another ride.

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Nefarious Eduardo on January 28, 2015
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Enough challenge to kick the craving, and there are a few technical spots but really only good for a quick ride. Advanced riders might be wanting a little more after.

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Jimmywingnut on December 25, 2014
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: Sweetwater has become one of my goto trails. SDMB has been working hard to add new sections. Lots of options and the trail keeps you honest. Great technical spots, climbs and great flow.

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Ivan Bartos on July 20, 2014
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: I've been riding this trail fairly regularly over the past few months as it's close to home. It's also been a great platform for learning some valuable MTB skills. This park has a number of different loops intersecting regularly enough that you can vary your direction of travel and combinations of loops to keep a regular rider entertained. These trails overall are easy enough to give a novice confidence while they master a number of important skills: negotiating some rocky drops and climbs, making a sharp 90 degree turn at the bottom of a nice downhill section; maintaining momentum during a short, steep loose climb; picking saguaro needles from various body parts when you don't manage to make some of the twisties sections. It's not unusual to spot deer, rabbits, quail and other wildlife while riding this spectacular saguaro forest. It can be VERY hot in the summer months, so bring a hydration pack with at least 70-100 oz's of water and tools to fix a flat if you have a closer encounter with the flora on this trail.

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Tomahawk3Niner on May 5, 2014
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: I've been mountain biking for a few months now and have been on some really easy trails and on some that just scared me. I visited Sweetwater for the first time this past Sunday and while I enjoyed myself, I am not sure I would consider this a beginner system. At least not as a beginner myself. The rocks presented some challenges I was not ready for, or that I hadn't the slightest clue how to tackle. There were a good number of spots where I opted to hop off and carry the bike a short distance before proceeding. The scenery is awesome and it is worth checking out, but if you're a noob be prepared for some pucker-time.

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John Fisch on March 26, 2013
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: This trail is a rare combination of mostly easy and mostly fun. The densepack of saguaro is fantastic--it's like riding through a real forest, but of giant cactus rather than pines. You could take a noob here and enjoy the scenery or go here yourself and ride fast. Either way, it's a worthy ride

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superflychic on January 23, 2013
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: This is a momentum singletrack. Very fun fast and flowing! Will go back next time were in the area!

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luv2mtb on June 29, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Rode this trail yesterday afternoon (06/28). Rode just about everything out here, some stuff twice. The Northern trails are best done clockwise. Some locals I met said the southern trails are better done counter-clockwise. They were right; I did the southern loop both ways and counterclockwise is more fun/less work. MTB is not just about skill but about style. This system can be very rocky at times and if that's your style then go for it. There are some nice, flowy sections but they are disappointingly few in number. The climbs are gradual, 2nd ring stuff, but keep your momentum up because you'll need it to clean the rocks. I rode Fantasy Island and Sweetwater this week. Fantasy Island was way more fun. Sweetwater was a much better workout.

* Review edited 6/29/2012

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Jared13 on January 8, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: A nice, easy trail. Lots of fun too. It is used for hiking and horseback riding and can be quite busy. I recommend getting there early in the morning to have the trails mostly to yourself. The trails are singletrack, rocky, and sandy in some sections. The best route I found was to enter the TH and head north towards Black Rock Loop. I hit Sun Canyon Loop on the way there and back and then followed the perimeter trails along with taking the Red Canyon Trail. If you do not circle back to hit The Spine and Octillo Hill, you're not missing much but you can get some decent speed traveling West to East on The Spine. As the previous reviewers said, there is some great scenery along the trail.

Similar Trail: Starr Pass and the easier parts of Robles Pass

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abegold on November 21, 2011
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: If driving by Tucson this trail is about 4 miles from the El Camino de Cerro exit and easy to access. Signs at junctions so easy to follow. West 2.5 miles to Tortolita Rd. south till it dead ends into trailhead parking lot.

Similar Trail: Robles Pass, Tucson Mountains, Brown Mountain, Golden Gate

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MSV85 on September 7, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Great ride for my first time. Has a couple different paths and starts out deceptively easy before getting a bit harder in the back. I handled it pretty well for my first time riding and had a great time.

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mwdesigns on April 11, 2010
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Review: I grew up riding and racing BMX so mtn biking seemed to be the perfect fit. This was my first "real" mtn bike ride. I had a few challenges and a few spills on one of the many trail options. I attribute my skin loss to my new clip-in's and a bit of lack of experience climbing rocky trails on my brand new 29er. One section of my trail choice was a bit challenging for me due to some rock outcrops and a steeper-than-my-legs-are-used-to narrow trail. However the climb was WELL worth the down hill fun. Not a super fast trail but fast enough and technical enough to make it a blast! I am sure I will ride this trail many many more times.

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joetutt on March 22, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: What a great trail! The scenery is unbelievable. Very open trail with heavy, heavy concentration of saguaro and other cactus, so falling wouldn't be fun. This is a two way trail, but you can usually see pretty far in front of you, so crashing shouldn't be a problem. Not very technical, but enough to keep it fun. Heavy rocks throughout and almost 100% hard pack, just a few areas of soft gravel. No really steep climbs, mostly longer gradual climbing. Some nice tight switchbacks. Lots of fun with breathtaking views. Highly recommend!

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Sweetwater Preserve MTB Trail 4.43 out of 5 based on 14 ratings. 14 user reviews.
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Trail Features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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