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The new gravel Mecca: Patagonia, Arizona

Home to the Spirit World 100, the Gravel House, and, this year, a lot of VeloNews gravel bike testing.

Have you ever been to one of those places where people tell you, ‘be careful, if you drink the water, it means you’ll be back’?

The same goes for Patagonia, Arizona, but with a twist: If you ride the gravel, you’ll probably be back.

The tiny town, nestled in the borderlands between Tucson and Nogales, Mexico boasts some of the best gravel riding in the American southwest. The roads wind through the stunning sky island ecosystem, and you can ride for days without repeating the same route.

For a century, ride to the border and back, like in The Spirit World 100 gravel race. For a chardonnay, take the gravel route to Rune Winery in neighboring Sonoita.

And gravel isn’t the only thing in the water. Patagonia also blushes with birds and butterflies, is bisected by the hiker and biker-friendly Arizona Trail, and boasts a smattering of local businesses offering fine food and art.

For all of these reasons, Heidi and Zander Ault, the co-founders of The Spirit World 100, have decided to make Patagonia home. The Aults and Kristi and Tim Mohn own and operate The Gravel House, a lovely oasis in the heart of Patagonia. The property is available to rent and is set up so that gravel riding tourists can keep their bikes safe and their bellies full in a relaxing and scenic setting.

Drink the water, ride the gravel — just consider yourself forewarned: once you come to Patagonia, you’ll probably want to come back.

After you watch the video above, be sure to check back to VeloNews in the coming days for more gravel videos out of Patagonia.