Scottsdale Arizona Desert Self-Guided Cycling Tour

With over 300 days of sunshine and incredible scenery, the conditions are perfect for exhilarating road rides, including challenging climbs to beautiful views of the surrounding desert. The ever present Saguaro Cactus, our nation’s largest, is everywhere, but also are all the other wondrous species that comprise the most diverse southwestern ecosystem in our country. Our cycling trip in Scottsdale and the Sonoran Desert is tailored to each guest and incorporates the best cycling routes in the area, offering daily lengths from 15-100 miles. Choose a bike from our top-notch rental fleet, let us know your pedal requirements and the type of rides you are looking for and we will design it for you. This self-guided road bike trip is perfect for the casual road biker, the visiting triathlete looking for winter miles, or the avid cyclist.


Day 1 – Bicycle tour orientation and bike fitting

Upon arrival at the AOA rental and tour center in North Scottsdale, one of our experts will review in detail your Route Book and reservations. After getting to know you, they may suggest some customized rides or activities to enhance your week. Next we will provide a brief bike fit and collect your luggage (change room available) before you set off on a classic local’s ride to the charming town of Carefree, AZ. When you arrive at your resort you will find your luggage waiting for you at the bell stand.

Day 2 – Into the Desert!

oday’s ride takes you north east into the wild Sonoran Desert to a surprise you may not expect: a lake! In a few brief pedal strokes, you will find yourself away from the sounds of civilization, ascending over a cactus-laden hill into a wide ravine shadowed by towering giant saguaros. Watch out for the Whiptailed Lizards as they scamper off the roadside as you negotiate the high speed descents and what goes down, must….. get ready to tackle a few climbs today. Once you arrive at the lake, head to Rattlesnake Cove for a refreshing swim or simply refuel at the Marina shop. If you still crave burning thighs and breaths that come in gasps, no problem! Today is a great day to extend your ride, and we know all of the nearby extended route options. Save some energy though, because tonight is a good one to let loose with the cowboys in nearby Cave Creek post ride.
Breakfast included

Day 3 – Rest Day with options

After burning it up on the road yesterday (or maybe it was the amateur bull riding last night in Cave Creek) most guests choose to spend a little time off of the saddle today. In addition to our standard ride, options from hiking, to rock climbing, to shopping, to world class spas are all just a short ride away. Today’s route assumes that you still want to be active and rolls past 2 fantastic trailheads if you care to hike. Those that want to get out on foot and get to know the desert a little more intimately should throw their shoes in a small backpack so they can hit the trail. Other ride highlights include the spectacular homes on the side of Black Mountain and the granite boulders of the Legend Trail area.
Breakfast included

Day 4 – East to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and Salt River

It is time for a change of scenery, so leave your luggage at the bell stand and get ready for a great one-way ride that is a net loss of over 1000 feet in elevation! Once you crest the pass on Dynamite and start your 9-mile hill descent you will be gazing over 70-miles across the desert, the Verde River Valley, and Tonto National Forest. Enjoy an extended ride and even a picnic break in McDowell Mountain Park or simply continue on to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Indian Reservation; the choice is yours. After a short wind swept grind on the Beeline (a road used for the Ironman Arizona Course) a big smile will come over your face as you descend to the Salt River at the base of the 1000-ft Bulldog Cliffs. Nestled in the Tonto National Forest your home for the next 2 nights is a historic ranch.

Day 5 – Creeks and Cliffs and Cactus

Get ready for the most spectacular scenery of the trip! Here we will ride along the Salt River beneath towering rhyolite cliffs and past cactus studded canyons. The soft greenery and plentiful water attract many animals who make their homes here, including beavers, otters, loons, eagles, turkey vultures, and bobcats. The Salt River flows from its headwaters in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona and rushes along through the high elevations until it winds its way to the lower arid desert. Here the riparian ecosystem created by the mellow flow of the Salt is an indispensable oasis, home to many plant and animal species, and a perennial slash of green across the dry brown of the surrounding landscape. Keep your eye out for the wild horses that still roam this range and steel your legs for the short, but punchy climbs. Extend your ride for a swim in the river or hit the beach at the nearby lake. If you need some time off the bike, have a seat on a kayak or one of the ranch’s horses.
All meals included

Day 6 – Fountain Mountains

oday your ride takes you through Fountain Hills, including a popular KOM ridden last year by Bob Roll during a Gran Fondo; plus we include sections of the Tour De Scottsdale to finish off your legs. Your tour ends at the AOA facilities. Note: There is a 2 mile section of this route on a fast 2 lane street with no shoulder. The alternative riding routes are very long; or if you would rather just shorten the ride; you can go with luggage transfer to a drop point after this section; which shortens the ride to about 15 miles.
Breakfast, lunch included

What’s Included

-Luggage transfers
-Orientation on Day 1 to cover GPS, route book with expert staff
-2 nights lodging at Saguaro Lake Ranch (double occupancy)
-3 nights lodging at Carefree Resort (double occupancy)
-Meals as noted in the itinerary
-Helmet, specific pedals when requested with bike rental below; tool kit
-Detailed route book with maps, cue sheets, suggestions for stops, water, visits, restaurants, more
-GPS Garmin Touring (1 for 2 persons)
-24-hour phone support

What’s Not Included

-Airfare to and from Phoenix
-Airport transfers
-Meals not included in the itinerary
-Rental road bike fully equipped with emergency repair kit, floor pump, and extra tool kit – (Specialized Allez Elite Tiagra $245USD or upgrade)
-Park entry (McDowell Mountain Park optional)
-Pre- and post-trip accommodations
-Personal insurance and expenses

Optional Upgrades & Add-ons

-Pick-up/drop-off at PHX airport or local Scottsdale hotel
-Custom tours for groups, hotel lodging, more
-This program is 6 days of riding, but other nearby activities can easily be added; any of the following and more:
-Additional road riding days
-Hiking, kayaking, tubing the Salt River, horseback riding, and more

Have additional questions? Want to customize this tour? Contact us at 970-776-0181. Or send us an email at