- Rating: ★★★½☆
- Length: 6.3 miles (one way)
- Start: 4th Avenue
- Stop: Craycroft
Ride Description: For some legislative reason I don’t understand, the Aviation Bikeway isn’t part of The Loop. It connects Tucson’s four major urban areas: Congress, 4th Avenue, University of Arizona, and Reid Park. It also has the iconic Rattlesnake Bridge, where you bike into the snake’s mouth and out its tail. I have ridden this trail probably a hundred times and still can’t figure out what triggers the snake bridge to rattle. The ride itself is OK, but there’s plenty to do just off the trail.
Make a Day of It: If you arrive early, you should find street parking off 4th Avenue. From there, hop on the Aviation Bikeway and start riding. About 3 miles later, the trail ends on Aviation Road. Instead of picking the trail up again at the far end of Aviation, turn left onto Camilla and navigate to the Randolph Way entrance to Reid Park. There is even a bike path (David Bell) that runs the perimeter of the park.
It’s always interesting to take a lap around Reid Park and see what you can see. One day, I met a guy who spent three years researching the bible to build an exact replica of the Ark of the Covenant. He finally completed his passion project and decided to take it to the park and show it to people from the trunk of his car. Another time, I came across a pigeon breeding convention. Of course, I always loved seeing the ducks on the ponds. On the way back, be sure to stop at the Lost Barrio Gallery to view their outstanding collection of southwestern curios. The entire ride is approximately 9 miles, including the loop around Reid Park.
Once you return, you can explore the collegiate vibe of 4th Avenue or the hipster mecca of Congress. There are so many food and entertainment options here, I can hardly begin to list them. You can even take a bike tour of the Tucson street art scene, but I would only attempt this on the weekend to avoid downtown traffic.