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Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Southwest in 2023

Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Southwest in 2023

Updated Nov 6, 2022

The team at Strambecco rated the Top Gravel events in the Southwest for 2023 based on various factors, including reputation, route quality, location, rider feedback, and the overall uniqueness of the event or race.  Spanning California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, the Southwest terrain features of Strambecco’s best list includes mountains, canyons, mesas, buttes, high broad basins, plateaus, desert lands, and some plains characteristic of the Basin and Range Province. The entire southwestern region features semi-arid to arid terrain.  The list includes events in Northern California marked by old-growth forests, spectacular coastal routes, and generally cooler temperatures.

If we had to pick the best of the best, or those you’d classify as bucket list events, we’d recommend the Belgian Waffle Ride (San Diego) in August or the Sea Otter Classic (Monterey County) in April.  We also strongly correlate the best events and professional event producers.  The Southwest premiere event producers include  Monuments of Cycling, Bike Monkey, and Grasshopper.

Strambecco does not list every event.  We strive to identify and review events that are special and noteworthy.  If you have suggestions on other events we should consider or review, please get in touch with us or send us a note at editors@strambecco.com.  You can also see some of our other best guides for the region here:

Best Road Cycling Events in the Southwest 2023

Rock Cobbler (Bianci)

A favorite among gravel aficionados, Bianchi Rock Cobbler, is a quirky and challenging adventure race in/around the surrounding hills of Bakersfield, California.  Rated by Strambecco as one of the best gravel grinders…

Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona (Scottsdale)

Monuments of Cycling (MoC), a premier cycling events producer best known for its iconic Belgian Waffle Ride California (San Diego), brings its popular format to Arizona this Winter for the first time.  Created as…

Gran Fondo Hincapie Merced

A promising new event on the California early 2023 season gravel calendar, produced by Hincapie Events, whose namesake is former world tour rider George Hincapie, best known for riding and completing the…

Fish Rock

Fish Rock is a serious event billed as a “Road bike race for people who aren’t afraid of a little hardcore gravel.” Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in…

Belgian Waffle Ride California (San Diego)

The Belgian Waffle Ride is considered one of the unique cycling events in the country with 1500+ participants and stands as one of the largest gravel events in America, surpassed in size…

Sea Otter Classic

The Sea Otter Classic, produced by Life Time Events, is a classic and the largest festival and gathering of cycling enthusiasts in North America. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling…

Stetina’s Pay Dirt

Peter Stetina moved on from the World Pro Tour in 2019 to focus on adventure racing with a focus on less-trafficked routes like gravel.  Stetina’s Pay Dirt has become a favorite and…

Lost and Found Gravel Festival

Lost and Found Gravel Festival offers a mixed surface blend throughout the Lost Sierra, some of California’s most beautiful and vast alpine valleys. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events…

Truckee Tahoe Gravel

Formerly known as Truckee Dirt Fondo, Truckee Tahoe Gravel, produced by premier event operator Bike Monkey, is a wild mixed-terrain adventure ride into the gravel and dirt roads of the majestic Tahoe…

Crusher in the Tushar

Crusher in the Tushar is a popular event/race celebrating and rated by Strambecco as one of the best gravel events in the Southwest.    Crusher is produced by premier operator Life Time…

The Hammer Road Rally

The Hammer Road Rally, produced by Bike Monkey,  is one of California’s premiere gravel events. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in California, it features some of the most…

The Bovine Classic

The Bovine Classic is a relatively new event billed tongue in cheek as “America’s 4th Hardest, Cow-Themed, Wine Country Experience.”  The event occurs in the Paso Robles wine region, a great, albeit…

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