Author Topic: Southern Tier through Tucson  (Read 4127 times)

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Offline kbdraper

Southern Tier through Tucson
« on: January 08, 2023, 10:31:34 pm »
New to this forum. My goal is to do the Southern Tier around the first of March. I would like to travel through Tucson to see some friends and spend a few days there. Does anybody have any suggestions with routes down that way? Will take the reroute to Gila Bend and then join back up with the ACA route after.  Thanks in advance.

Offline jamawani

Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2023, 11:38:40 pm »
From Gila Bend you can take W. Maricopa Rd. / Hwy 238 to Maricopa.
(The first stretch goes through gorgeous saguaro forests.)
Then Maricopa - Casa Grande Hwy to Casa Grande & Eloy.
From Eloy take Bike Route 90 as shown on map.
Thru Tucson, to NM border, NM Hwy 80 continues to I-10 to Lordsburg.

I would take Hwy 82 between Whetstone directly to Tombstone. Shorter, less traffic.
I strongly discourage riding from Casa Grande thru the Tohono O'odham Reservation.
There are almost no services and stealth camping on Tohono O'odham lands is simply wrong.

(Not sure where you are starting from, but most people find the the I-8 route a downer.)

Offline kbdraper

Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2023, 12:00:08 am »
Jamawanl, thank you for this advice, exactly what I needed. The bicycle user map will be a great resource. Thank you again.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2023, 12:44:06 am »
I rode the reverse of the routes between Tucson and Mesa about 7 years ago with 3 others.  We stayed in hotels as it was literally just a few bucks more than camping.  The route uses bike paths and bike lanes quite a bit.  No issues with traffic, people, etc. but we are all very experienced cyclotourists so traffic typically does not bother us.

The other section of routes between Tucson and Silver City is the reverse route of what I am planning to ride next fall as part of my Alaska to Mexico tour. 

At end of route 8 (Route RJAN on RWGPS), you can go east on NM-9 all the way to El Paso and connect to the Southern Tier there.  However, NM-9 is very isolated with very little services outside Columbus so carry plenty of food and water between if doing this.  I would camp in the towns.  Otherwise, route 9 (SCLN on RWGPS) takes you to Silver City where you can reconnect to the Southern Tier.

For you the routes, in order, are:


FYI, they are separate routes simply because I have over 1500 North American routes I am slowly switching from gpx to RWGPS.  Every route connects to other routes but only those currently on RWGPS are shown in the RWGPS route notes.  Since the routes are uni-directional, I have to make two routes for every gpx route.

Tailwinds, John
« Last Edit: January 09, 2023, 01:00:40 am by John Nettles »

Offline jamawani

Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2023, 09:57:45 am »
The NM Hwy 9 route from Rodeo to El Paso is more direct and faster -
but it is really remote and somewhat bleak.
Columbus has services, but the funky store at Hachita is hit or miss.
I would use caution with stealth camping on this stretch -
because of the border immigration issues and, especially, coyotes (people smugglers).
If time is a factor, then Hwy 9 will save a couple of days.

For many people, Hwy 152 over Emory Pass between Silver City and Hillsboro
is the high point of the trip - literally highest elevation - and beautiful.
But there is a good deal of climbing and it can be chilly.
People doing the ST in winter often encounter snow, but spring should be clear.
In fact, spring is the driest season in the Southwest with lots of blue skies.
And trees, and little forest service campgrounds nestled by the creek.

Silver City is a mid-sized town with all services.
Hostel, bike shop, small college, funky cafes and music venues.
But it is also small enough that it is easy to bike around.
Hillsboro is like a time machine back to the 1960s.

Plus, the ride down the Rio Grande Valley is lovely.
Las Cruces is much bigger than Silver City - largest city in southern NM.
Just south of Las Cruces is Mesilla - you have to visit the plaza & historic church.
Mesilla is a lovely place to have a meal at an outdoor cafe and enjoy April weather.

I'm very fortunate that my sister lives in Placitas and my best friend in Silver City.
It's been a wonderful break from Wyoming winters for 30 years.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Southern Tier through Tucson
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2023, 06:51:45 am »
I cycled that route, but I cannot remember it. Weeks ago I cycled from Tucson to El Paso. It was on the interstate. Great following wind, but too many tire wires.