The Kentucky Camp Trail
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.
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
Highlight: Possible sighting of the rare northern beardless tyrannulet
Details: Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, http://www.sdmb.org, or Arizona Off-Road Adventures, 520-822-9830
Club: Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, http://www.sdmb.org
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