3 Best Road Cycling Routes in Mesa

Road Biking
Feb 2019

Mesa has been named one of the best cities for cyclists, and with good reason! Mesa is full of wide open spaces, smooth roads with wide bike lanes, and to the surprise of many cyclists who aren’t familiar with the desert landscape there are plenty of hills to climb! If you’re a road cyclist and you’re headed to Mesa, make sure you take the time to check these 3 routes out.

Bush Highway/Usery Pass Loop:

The Usery Pass Road Loop is a favorite among Phoenix cyclists because it can be planned out to have longer or shorter mileage, it has some of the most lush desert scenery in the Valley, and the rolling hills can be both challenging and forgiving. The spring is a great time to ride this route, especially after a winter full of rain! If you’re looking for more information about this ride, check out Phoenix New Time’s extensive review!

We’ve created a Bush Highway Salt River route on RideWithGPS for you to check out. Download the app and get the route directions straight to your phone for your ride!

  • Distance: 21-40 miles
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Duration: 2 hr. +
  • Elevation Gain: 1,594 feet

spring road cycling in mesa arizona

 

Tortilla Flat Ride:

This out-and-back route along Highway 88/Apache Trail will take you east of Mesa for a scenic, twisty ride to the small community of Tortilla Flat, nestled between the Salt River and the Superstition Mountains. This section of the 88 slowly ascends into the wilderness before turning into a roller coaster of a road that drops into the Salt River Canyon. You’ll pedal along Canyon Lake where the ride features great short climbs and descents until reaching the old western saloon at Tortilla Flat. Some say the 6 or so miles past Tortilla Flat (until the road turns to dirt) are the most scenic miles of the ride, which may encourage you to finish the ride to the EOP or “end of pavement.” The last section adds some manageable climbing (average gradient of 4%), that many riders won’t want to miss. If you need to fuel up before heading back, make sure to stop at the Superstition Saloon for a burger and the World Famous Chili!

  • Distance: 41-60 miles
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Duration: 3 hrs.
  • Elevation Gain: 3,077 feet

 

road cycling the bush highway in Mesa, AZ

 

Tour of Mesa:

The annual Tour de Mesa is a road bike race showcasing some of the best road bike riding in Mesa. The event offers two routes – a short 28-mile ride much like the Bush Highway/Usery Pass Loop (except in reverse), and a challenging 72-mile ride circumnavigating the city of Mesa and heading out the Beeline Highway then looping back down Bush highway, saving two, rough long climbs for the end.

  • Distance: 28-72 miles
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Advanced
  • Duration: 2-3 hrs. +
  • Elevation Gain: 952-2,367 feet
tour de mesa road cycling
road cyclists on the tour de mesa in arizona