Honeybee Canyon Loop
ElevationAscent: 964' 294 m
Descent: -964' -294 m
High: 3,657' 1,115 m
Low: 2,822' 860 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 8% (5°)
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“A mostly smooth trail featuring lots of singletrack running with only gradual elevation changes.”— Stephen Woodall
This is a very fun loop trail that offers a shorter 12.1-mile loop option too if you cut over to the left (west) at the 5.35-mile junction where you'll link up with the last part of the run. There are also multiple extensions (Badlands Trail and Tortolita Pass Trail), with the Tortolita Pass Trail linking up to the Dove Mountain trail system that is usually accessed at the Wild Burro Trail. This run is remote at the northern end of the loop so be very careful to bring sufficient water in the hotter summer months.
From the parking lot head north under the Big Wash bridge. Follow this trail, which is fairly sandy, for 1.3 miles and then turn left through a cattle gate. Another 0.5 miles past this point, at 1.8 miles total, you'll see another gate but DO NOT go through it and instead veer just left of it and follow the singletrack path. At 2.25 miles you'll come to a "T" in the trail and here you'll turn left. This trail is the one which came from the church access path. After making the left continue until 4.15 miles where you'll intersect the Rail X Ranch / Honeybee Canyon Loop right after passing some cattle tanks. Take a right (NW) at this four way intersection. After a half mile of singletrack, you'll reach the Powerline Road (about 4.65 miles from the start). Cross the road and continue on the singletrack heading up the gradual ascent. At 5.35 miles from the start, you'll reach a "Y" in the trail. Stay right to complete this longer route (left will take you on the Honeybee Canyon Short Loop).
At the 7 mile mark, you'll come to a dirt road (Edwin Road) and head across the road veering slightly to the right and back immediately onto singletrack. From about mile 8.1 through 10.4, you'll encounter some of the most steady but minor climbing of the day and probably the hardest section of trail. This is another pretty section of the trail though where you can take in the scenery at various points. At around the 10.15-mile mark, the path will merge with a dirt road. Follow this dirt road up the hill for approximately 0.4 miles, crossing two cattle guards, before turning a hard left back down a singletrack path (approximately 10.5 total distance mark). This is a fairly easy path to see, but it does cut back at a very sharp angle. **Note: The Badlands Trail extension is about 0.2 miles before this turn off on the right-hand side of the road).**
From here, you'll gradually descend back towards a windmill and cattle tank, with a few rolling hills thrown in. Upon reaching the cattle tank, veer slightly right down through a wash and up the hill on the other side. This next 0.6 miles is a bit rocky and involves some of the steeper hill climbs of the day; however, they're still fairly minor. Once you crest the hill, it's pretty much all downhill thereafter. Just after mile 11.4, you'll be following along a fence line with some rolling terrain before opening onto a wider dirt trail and past a water hole. **Note: Those linking with the Tortolita Pass Trail will stay on the dirt trail (crossing Edwin again) rather than crossing the cattle guard**
After hitting this dirt road at the 11.6-mile mark, take a left and cross the cattle guard, then take an almost immediate right down more singletrack. This will lead you past the remnants of an old corral with another scenic windmill. Just beyond the corral, you'll start heading to the right down a dirt road for a VERY SHORT distance before veering to the left down another singletrack path. Keep your eyes on the loose dirt here, and you'll see the mountain bike tracks leading you the correct direction. Enjoy the next few fast miles of gradual downhill!
From here on out, the trail crosses a few more dirt roads but the singletrack path is pretty visibly seen directly across the roads so just keep going straight on singletrack. The next major junction is at about 15.4 miles where you'll again just stay mostly straight (slightly right). This junction is where you would spill out if doing the Honeybee Canyon Short Loop. Right at about mile 16.6, there's one last moderate uphill section with a steeper hill at the end for good measure. From here you'll descend down towards the Powerline Road at which point you'll take a right and follow the Powerline Road for 0.2 miles, then take a left back onto singletrack & follow for 0.35 miles. Turn right at this junction past the cattle tanks and back to the start.
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