Mountain Biking and Road Biking
A favorite training ground for road cyclists and triathletes, Madera Canyon is a steady, 13.5 mile ascent from the town of Green Valley to the base of Mount Wrightson. The approach to the canyon begins innocently enough with a gradual climb through the high desert grasslands. As the terrain changes with the elevation, you’ll encounter shady curves, oaks and sycamore. As you enter the canyon, the grade becomes steeper and tests your determination and grit. To reach the end of the road,the base of Mount Wrightson, you must grind up a nearly 15 grade. Enjoy the fast ride down! The Santa Rita Lodge Gift Shop is a popular respite for cyclists to rest, enjoy the wildlife viewing area, and pick up a candy bar to fuel their descent.
The pavement from Green Valley to the top of the canyon is of good quality, but there is no bike lane. Please share the road with traffic and ride with caution. Deer, snakes, coati, and other wildlife can appear in the road in any season or at any time of day.
The northern access to Elephant Head mountain biking trail is located about 11.2 miles up Madera Canyon Road. Take a right on Proctor Road, and stay left whenever the road splits. Take Proctor Rd to its end and park. The trailhead is at the end of the Jeep road, FR 781. This trail boasts 6 miles and 4,000 ft of elevation gain. Rated an intermediate trail, it is excellent riding with plenty of variation to keep more advanced riders interested. Elephant Head can become overgrown easily, but the north trail is gaining popularity which has been keeping overgrowth under control. Made up of jeep trail and single-track, Elephant head mainly crosses open desert with little cover. Be sure to take in the vast views and the massive rock formation earning its name: Elephant Head.
Come prepared with water, snacks, and proper gear. There are no amenities or water sources nearby.