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The Kentucky Camp Trail

The Kentucky Camp Trail

Patagonia, Arizona

Situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet between the Santa Rita and Patagonia mountains, Patagonia is a southern Arizona border town straight out of The Milagro Beanfield War. A thriving artist colony and some surprisingly good restaurants share tree-lined streets where many yards are adorned by a couple of Maytags or a vintage Camaro rusting in the sun. Best known as a destination for bird watchers, Patagonia offers a mother lode of superb mountain bike trails. Several pro teams train here each spring.

The Kentucky Camp Trail is a 38-mile, figure-eight loop that includes some of the most scenic and fun riding in this part of the world. The trail takes its name from the Kentucky Camp, a gold mining operation that flourished back in 1904 and is now being restored. Once you climb to higher elevations, you'll be rewarded with views of the Whetstone and Huachuca Mountains. Part of the trail traces a flume that was built to bring water to Kentucky Camp for the mining operation. This ride includes a portion of the 750-mile Arizona Trail, which stretches from Utah to the Mexican border and is fast approaching completion.

Location: The Kentucky Camp Trail begins 45 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, near the the town of Patagonia.

Tucson, Arizona, near the the town of Patagonia

Length: 38 miles

Elevation: 3,800 to 5,500 ft

Climbing: 4,000 ft

Terrain: Combination of singletrack, jeep roads, loose rocky descents, steep climbs

Season: September-May

Highlight: Possible sighting of the rare northern beardless tyrannulet

Details: Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists,, or Arizona Off-Road Adventures, 520-822-9830

Club: Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists,

Shop: Fair Wheel Bicycles, Tucson, 520-884-9018

Lodging: The Stagestop Inn, Patagonia ,520-394-2211

Brew: Thunder Canyon

Coffee: Angelo's Coffee Bar

Eateries: Home Plate, Velvet Elvis Pizza

Event: 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, President's Day weekend

Must do: A side trip to Nogales, Mexico