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Mountain Biking HoneyBee Canyon And Rail X Of Oro Valley


Arizona’s most scenic trail system is a memorable adventure for everyone

With the splendid Catalina mountains in the background, idyllic and beautiful HoneyBee Canyon is perhaps the most scenic mountain bike trail in all of Tucson – and Arizona. Mountain bikers from all over, come to mountain bike and hike this spectacular trail in the Tortolita trail system that includes a 16.1 mile single track loop trail that takes you through land touched and occupied by the Hohokam Indians. Hollywood has used this real estate as a backdrop in various old west films. There is a hikers only trail down the street that is great for anyone wanting to enjoy some of the great desert hiking in Arizona.
A desert filled with saguaros, cholla cactus and every desert critter you can think of, HoneyBee is a fast, fun, flowy, windy up and down racetrack style trail that offers a gentle elevation gain of about 700 feet. The trail system can offer you 35 miles of mountain biking if you extend your ride up to ridge line. The HoneyBee Canyon Loop is a favorite for all mountain bikers from beginners to advanced. Fast riders can do the loop in just over 2 hours. Otherwise give yourself up to 3 hours if you are taking it easy.
Just how incredible is HoneyBee Canyon for both hikers and mountain bikers? There are homeowners who paid $2M for houses right at the start of the HoneyBee Canyon trail head located on Quiet Rain Drive. Many of these people are mountain bikers. You can mountain bike here for free or rent a mountain bike from Tucson Bike Rentals.
Ideal mountain bike of choice: Hard tail. Full suspension mountain bikes are overkill for this trail. Many locals use rigids on this trail. Tucson Bike Rentals offers contact free pickup and delivery of Specialized mountain bikes to HoneyBee and Upper 50 Year Trail at Catalina State Park.

Honey Bee Canyon Trail Photos

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Maps/GPS HoneyBee Guided Tour

Getting to know HoneyBee Canyon: take a GPS guided tour of HoneyBee Canyon by downloading the MTB Projects or Trailforks free applications.

Specialized Tubeless Mountain Bike Rentals

Pickup/Delivery By Appointment at HoneyBee or Upper 50 Year Trails 

Pickup as early as 6AM *FREE Helmets *Repair Kits *Contactless!

Full Suspension MTB

Specialized Stumpjumper

Hard Tail (Best)

Specialized Chisel

Economy Bikes

Giant Talon

Take HoneyBee Canyon Virtual Photo Tour

Click on the plus sign on the top right hand side of the map. You will see the HoneyBee Canyon Trail map enlarge. Click on the photos and enjoy! Discover and mountain bike Tucson’s most scenic, fast, fun flowy trail!

Mountain Biking HoneyBee Canyon…

What to know “at a glance”…..
While an Arizona Land Trust Permit is technically required for use of all trails in Arizona, no one abides by any of this. Locals do not bother with getting permits as the Land Trust people do not take the time to come out to trails to check. The Land Trust people we have met are too fat and lazy to get near a mountain bike trail in the first place. Most of them are fearful of sunburn and cactus, preferring to stay in their air conditioned Phoenix offices while collecting state paychecks and siphoning benefits from Arizona taxpayers.

Indians, Hollywood and great scenery

HoneyBee Bee Canyon is the most scenic trail head in the state of Arizona. This land has been used in Hollywood westerns as a backdrop. The very land you will be biking on was inhabited by the Hohokam Indians an there are many petroglphs throughout. We highly recommend getting off the mountain bike at some point and walking the hiking trail portion where you can have time to observe these petroglphs.

Really Good Advice on Riding HoneyBee Canyon!

Park at Methodist Church nearby and bike Rail X to HoneyBee!
HoneyBee Canyon trail is not a one way trail. However, we recommend riding the loop by going counter clockwise. You will not run into many people.

Mountain Biking HoneyBee Rail X

From The Methodist Church Lot

Rail X is a fun up and down entry point from the church.

Oro Valley, AZ
5:33 am7:27 pm MST
Feels like: 106°F
Wind: 6mph WNW
Humidity: 16%
Pressure: 29.78"Hg
UV index: 3
6 pm7 pm8 pm9 pm10 pm
104°F / 79°F
102°F / 81°F
100°F / 79°F
100°F / 81°F
100°F / 81°F

HoneyBee Canyon Flora and Fauna

It’s the Tucson desert so you may encounter snakes, bobcats, coyotes, javelina, etc. Mountain lions do inhabit the area and are rarely sighted. DO be careful of cows! If you are a fast rider it is easy to run into one. Cows graze this land too and are very docile and are used to human traffic. Plenty of cactus so where long sleeves. You’ll see a great variety of desert plants.

Things to do for non-mountain bikers

Hiking! World class Arizona hiking! You have two world class hiking trails starting with Catalina State Park and the HoneyBee Canyon Trail that is ONLY for hikers. Catalina State Park is also a mountain bike entry point for the Golder Upper 50 Year Trail. Tucson Bike Rentals offers delivery and pickup of Specialized mountain bikes there starting at just $75.

Oro Valley/Tucson Loop 130 mile car-free loop bike path 1.5 miles away

Bring your friends and they can walk or get a hybrid/road bike and bike the car-free 130 mile bike path that starts in Oro Valley! The greatest and most famous loop system in the USA is 1.5 miles from HoneyBee Canyon Trail. Tucson Bike Rentals rents and delivers Trek, Specialized and Giant hybrids, road bikes, tandems by appointment – and they do it contact free! You will never even smell anyone.

Oro Valley/Tucson Loop 130 mile car-free path is great for casual bikers!

Where to stay when mountain biking HoneyBee Canyon

Catalina State Park offers great camping just two miles away. Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Marriott, Worldmark Resort, Hilton El Conquistador are all great options that you can literally sleep and bike from. Tucson Bike Rentals offers free pickup and delivery of rental bikes to all Oro Valley hotels and resorts at no charge. However, the BEST way to stay and play is by camping at Catalina State Park. Catalina State Park is safe and beautiful.

What to wear for HoneyBee!

Ideally wear long sleeves or any kind of arms sun protectors. This will protect you from the cactus. HoneyBee is a 3 water bottle ride 8 months out of the year. Bring plenty of food and sunscreen up BEFORE you arrive. This is a desert and being prepared is good. Always have your cell phone on you. Cell service is available from all major carriers. You do not have to worry about getting lost as you can tell where you are by just looking at The Catalinas.

Local Bicycle Rentals

Oro Valley Bicycle Rentals
Tucson Bike Rentals
Both rental places offer mountain bikes by appointment only as early as 6 AM with contact free pickup/delivery to the trail. Helmets, saddle repair kits, maps everything included. Rentals start at just $75 a day. Smoking good deal. Bikes come with tubeless tires. Slime tube mountain bike tires DO NOT work in the Arizona desert.

Local Bicycle Repair Shop

Oro Valley Bicycle located at Oracle and Vistoso Blvd.
They have gloves, Camelbacks and just about everything you need. They are across from Walgreens which is great if you need Gatorade or mental health medications.

Bicycle Association/Club

Arizona Bicycle Association

Best places to eat, drink and park nearby

We recommend parking at The Views Golf Club. They have the best restaurant in Oro Valley with the deepest beer and wine selection. And yes, the views of the Oro Valley Catalinas are incredible. You can park here and go to the locals entry Honey Bee Canyon Trail access point by just taking a right going west. Go west and look straight ahead for power lines and you will see a perfectly manicured trail head UNDER the power lines. (If you go past the power lines to Quiet Rain Drive, you went too far.) This access point has a no trespassing sign near it. Ignore it. All of the locals use this spot as the signs were declared illegal quite some time ago. Go straight, north UNDER the power lines and the trail starts 100 yards to the right at a telephone pole AFTER the cattle gate.
You can also park at the official HoneyBee Canyon Trail parking lot just a quarter of a mile west of the power lines. This is the parking entrance for the hiking trail. Take a right going west out of the parking lot and you will see the power lines to follow.
Or you can take a left out of the parking lot, staying in the right lane and go to Big Wash Trail head. There is parking there as well. Most people prefer the above locals entry point. BE SURE to use Google Maps as the entry point to this trail head is a little challenging to find. It is less than a mile on the right.
If you want to start out on the Rail X side of HoneyBee Canyon, Google The Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church and you can park in a dirt parking lot right at the beginning of their entry way. No parking on Sundays.
Parking near this popular Oro Valley mountain bike trail has had some controversy, as the local mountain bike club (Sonoran Desert Mountain Bikers) got involved and tried shutting down access to to two entry points – including the access point graciously allowed by the Methodist Church. They created an unnecessary trail entry point, spending over $15,000 of members monies that turned out to be a boondoggle. SDMB even tried to shut down the long time trail entrance at Quiet Rain Drive, helping put up a large fence to block the trail. They even went as far as trying to get police to ticket mountain bikers who did not use their trail. All of that failed and most people do not want their new entry point. This, along with other issues, led to IMBA out of Boulder to “part ways” with them. Local Tucson mountain bikers refer to it as a “defrocking”. And members have been leaving SDMB in droves.

Honey Bee Canyon Photo Gallery

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Honey Bee Canyon Video Vault