Nestled in Oro Valley, Arizona, XXXX minutes away from Tucson, is the Baby Jesus Mountain Bike Trail. This trail is 3.9 miles long and ascends 864 ft. up to a height of 3,879 ft. at an average grade of 3° (or 6%). What makes the Baby Jesus biking trail so exciting and such a popular destination for cyclists around the United States is its descent: 11° or 20%, which can be very exhilarating.
The Baby Jesus trail is set on a sandy single-track climb up a mountain in the Oro Valley, through the Sutherland Wash. It features some very steep climbs that will make your biking experience exciting, including the climb up to the Window Rock. This perseverance ride requires a lot of stamina, so to survive the Baby Jesus trail climbs, we recommend a full-suspension mountain bike.
The biking trail at Baby Jesus has some incredible Arizona views, but with the additional possibility of wildlife encounters along the way.
Local Tucson mountain biker, Mick Kelleher, who’s the engineer for Raytheon and a volunteer for The Arizona Bicycle Association, said that:
“Baby Jesus is a pretty technical trail that horses and wildlife seem to navigate better than us groovers. This trail is usually accessed by way of a cow trail that begins near the junction of Cherry Tank and Middlegate Trail. Baby Jesus is as mentally challenging as it is physical.”
From Ina and Oracle, go North until you reach the Golder Ranch Trailhead. After the parking lot cattle guard. ride East on Golder Ranch Road and you’ll come to a corral. Leave the corral to ride East on the jeep road for .5 miles, bearing right at the fork. Continue on the jeep road, crossing a cattle guard and cycling on. Make sure to choose the “better” jeep road as you approach the bottom of the hill.
Follow the jeep road South along the West side of the wash until just BEFORE it crosses a large 75 ft. wide intersecting wash. Turn East right there (about 1.4 miles into the ride), cross the wash you’ve been following, and look for a trail leading Southeast up the bank and away from the wash.
Once you’re on the trail, it’s easy to follow it. But beware of the occasional cow path that branches off from the main trail. The path up out of Flat Rock Meadow is especially tricky, as it turns briefly East before continuing South to the intersection with the Sutherland Trail. Don’t be fooled by the cow path leading West.
To ride the trail as an out-and-back, simply retrace your steps after reaching the Sutherland Trail. You can also choose to do this from the Flat Rock Meadow, which gives you a nice place to stop for a snack and rest.
To complete the loop, follow the Sutherland Trail West and downhill until you reach the State Park gate at the Sutherland Wash crossing. Signs from there will lead you to the 50 Year Trail. Turn North on the 50 Year Trail to return to the main trailhead parking area.
Bicycle rentals, daily group rides, and the best cycling routes.
1. Rent a bike in Tucson
Tucson Bicycle Rentals
Oro Valley Bicycle Rentals
Tucson Bike Rentals
(Offers carbon road bicycle rental pickup at 6AM or night before pickup.)
2. Group Mountain Bike Rides
Tucson Bike Rentals Shop
Tucson Bicycle Association
3. Information and Guides
Arizona Bicycle Association
Mountain Biking Mount Lemmon
4. Nearby Shops
Oro Valley Bicycles
(Nearest cycling shop.)