Spring Riding Near Patagonia Arizona

I joined Adventure Cycling Association’s (ACA) spring Patagonia Gravel tour during the first week of March in 2023. I travelled to the Stage Stop Inn in Patagonia to meet up with the group for 4 days of riding gravel roads in the area. I woke up the first morning of the tour and looked out my hotel room window to see several centimetres of fresh snow. After meeting up with the trip leaders we found out that the first two days of riding would have to be on paved surfaces as the gravel roads would be unrideable. Gravel roads in this area turn to thick mud when wet.

The trip leader came up with some paved road routes on Ride With GPS and provided links for us to download the routes to our smart phones or GPS units. It was too bad to miss a couple of days of riding gravel roads but I learned long ago not to be upset when the weather forces a change in plans. Day 1 was a simple ride south of town up the Harshaw Road for about 10 km until the pavement ended and then a return to town. I decided to continue north from Patagonia for another 10 km towards Sonoita before heading back to Patagonia where I spent a second night at the Stage Stop Inn.

For Day 2 we started and finished a 64 km ride in Sonoita. Traffic was fairly busy for the first 13 km on SR 82 but got much lighter for the rest of the ride. It felt good to get out and do some riding and see some different scenery. After the ride we were transported by van with our bikes and camping equipment to Patagonia State Park.

On Day 3, I finally got to ride some of the gravel roads in the area. After heading south of town for about 5 km on, Harshaw Road, I turned on to Harshaw Creek Road and followed a roughly 35 km, clockwise loop along Harshaw Creek Road, San Rafael Valley Road, Apache Road and back to Harshaw Road before heading back to town after riding a total of 47 km.

Day 4, the final day of the ACA tour, was a 47 km out and back ride northwest of town to Alto Ruins. It was a fun ride with more elevation gain than the previous few days of riding. The gravel roads were reasonably smooth for the first part of the ride. For the last few km before the ruins, the road became much rougher and rockier reminding me of some of the old abandoned roads I’ve ridden back home. Visit the Dirty Freehub site for a detailed route description.

I used 27.5 x 2.1 Teravail Sparwood tires for this trip and found that they performed well on gravel and paved surfaces.

While it was unfortunate to have missed the first two days of riding gravel roads near Patagonia because of the weather, I wasn’t too concerned. I had close to 3 weeks of travel plans in the Arizona and knew that I would enjoy many days of cycling in the warm sunshine.