With just shy of 100 miles of world-class desert singletrack, the Gila 100 is one of the absolute highlights of the Arizona Trail. Traversing broad desert expanses, canyons, mountains, the riding and scenery is as good as it gets, all thanks to the tireless work of the Arizona Trail Association and all its volunteers.
Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. The Backcountry Bike Challenge and its creators and contributors will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.
This stretch of Arizona Trail offers world-class desert singletrack in a remarkably remote environment. Heading south, the trail contours around Picketpost Nountain up to a pass before plunging along some of the best constructed trail imaginable down to the Gila River. At the river, the trail turns east, hugging the canyon wall as while weaving in and out of steep drainages. At Kelvin, the trail climbs into the Ripsy Segment (which will be rerouted in the coming years due to mining) and Tortilla Mountains. South of these little mountains, you’ll enter a broad, desolate upper Sonoran Desert scrub environment with views for a hundred miles or more. The Santa Catalina sky islands to the south beckon you through the steeply banked washes that scour the landscape of the Black Hills. End the challenge at Tiger Mine Road, or if the Arizona Trail calls, continue south to Mexico.
Photos by Kurt Refsnider
Water caches depend on considerate users to sustain them. Do not drain a water cache, pack out any bottles you empty, do not leave trash or food in them, and please pay forward the service by stocking a water cache either before or after your ride.
The Arizona Trail is one of the premier long-distance trails in the country. For a history of the trail by each passage, see the passages links in the additional resources above. Dale Shewalter envisioned the trail in the 1970s, and in the subsequent decades, pursued his vision until the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) formed as a non-profit in 1994 to be a steward for the trail. The trail continues to be constructed and maintained to fulfill the mission of the organization and provide a lasting trail for non-motorized users across Arizona, and it’s important to recognize that the ATA has been welcoming to mountain bikers since the beginning.