Sky Islands Odyssey: Bikepacking The Sonoran Desert

Sky Island Odyssey is a short film about a bikepacking trip in the Sonoran Desert. Join their journey, as Ralph Samson (film creator) and his friend, Will, explore the loose dirt and winding fire roads on their gravel bikes. Ralph and Will followed the Sky Island Odyssey route traced by Sarah Swallow, using the leave no trace rules. The borderlands route featured a diverse network of dirt, rocky, and sandy roads that traversed the ever-changing landscapes characteristic of the Sky Islands bioregion in the Sonoran Desert.

What is Sky Islands Odyssey?

Sky Islands Odyssey is a three-part trail system running through Arizona’s borderlands and along the Santa Rita Mountains. Riders choose from the West Loop, East Loop or the Full Loop before planning their adventure. Each trail system treats riders to the iconic landscapes of the Southwest: cacti, rock gardens, sandy roads, and much more. Visit for more detailed information on the Sky Island Odyssey routes.

Why Ride the Sonoran Desert?

A previous resident of Tucson, AZ, I can speak to the magic of the Sonoran Desert. What surprises people is the diversity of animals and plants in the region. Imagine a chance encounter with 2,000 species of flora (most you don’t want to touch – ouch!) and over 60 species of mammals and 350 bird species. Who knew the desert was so interesting.

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