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San Pedro River Trails

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Tucson Area, Arizona

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San Pedro River Trails

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  • San Pedro River Trail.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Riding along the San Pedro River.- San Pedro River Trails
  • The San Pedro House is a great place to start your ride and to learn about the area.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Take time to admire the displays around San Pedro House.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Greenery in the water of the San Pedro River.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Shady paradise over the water.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Fascinating mix of desert and riparian vegetation.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Cruising on fun singletrack.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Kingfisher Pond.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Ducks flying into the pond.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Admiring this unique river.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Mountain views all around.- San Pedro River Trails
  • Open desert surrounds this oasis on both sides.- San Pedro River Trails
  • A dirt road provides a quicker ride alternative for covering distance.- San Pedro River Trails
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Desert river. Birdwatching.
Cons: 
Limited trails.
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Region:
Tucson Area, AZ
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Highest point: 
4,200.00 ft (1,280.16 m)
Route Characteristics: Mountain biking: 
Trail
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Trail difficulty: 
Green
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Total elevation gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,100.00 ft (1,249.68 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

The San Pedro Valley is a special place because it holds the state's last freeflowing desert river. The San Pedro River begins just south of the border and flows northward for a practically uninterrupted 140 miles to the Gila River. All other major rivers that flow through the mid- and lower elevations of Arizona have significant dam works, but the San Pedro does not. Therefore, it remains natural and crucial habitat for native plants and animals, especially birds. Hundreds of species, both local and migratory, can be seen in the river corridor. Forty miles of its reach near Sierra Vista is protected as the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The designation prevents development too close to the river's edge, preserving both the ecosystem and recreation for people. Trails along the river allow access to this unique and fragile oasis environment.

The San Pedro Trail is the name for the path that more or less follows the river for all of the 40 miles through the conservation area. Most people do not travel this whole distance, however. Parts of the trail are brushy and hard to follow for lack of traffic, but a few areas are more popular and have a small network of well established trails. The best place to find a variety of trails is at San Pedro House, a historic site and interpretive center run by the Bureau of Land Management. Access is free and trail maps are available. You can take a self-guided nature tour in a loop of less than a mile from the parking area, or simply ride off and explore as far as you want.

Beginners will love the interconnected trails near the Pedro House. These are also very popular with birders, so use caution and share the trail courteously with others. You will find a fun mix of easy terrain and trail types among the beautiful setting of cottonwood groves and babbling water. For a more adventurous ride, simply travel farther north or south on the trail system

A short distance north the trails link up with the Murray Clovis Site, an archealogical trove of relics from Ice Age inhabitants of Arizona. A little more than 8 miles to the south, the trail meets Hereford Road. A dirt road travels more or less the same route, albeit farther from the river; it is a quicker route, but it is also less interesting. Backcountry campsites are available in this corridor for backpackers and bikepackers traversing the corridor.

Note: There is no drinking water available, so bring plenty of your own as well as sun protection. Mosquitoes may be a bother during certain times of year, as well. The San Pedro House has a toilet, shade structures, and helpful volunteer staff inside during open hours as well as useful printed information.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Adventures

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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