Gates Pass

Gates Pass, a dangerous road with breathtaking views in AZ

Gates Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 969m (3,179ft) above the sea level, located in Pima County, in the south central region of the U.S. state of Arizona.

How long is Gates Pass in AZ?

Located west of Tucson, in Arizona, the road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called Gates Pass Road. The pass is 7.72km (4.8 miles) long, running east-west from Tucson to Kinney Road. The road through the pass was started in 1883. It’s named after Thomas Gates, a local pioneer, and a saloon and ranch keeper.

Is Gates Pass in AZ dangerous?

Set high along the crest of the Tucson Mountains of Arizona, the pass is well known as a dangerous drive due to its slope. The drive hits a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The road is narrow and winds around the edge of a large mountain with just a few feet space between the edge of the road and a deep drop off to the valley below. Because of this driving danger, Many people choose to take the Ajo Road to Kinney Road route to avoid the steep driving conditions. Gates Pass is not open to commercial and large vehicles over 40-50 feet long. It is accessed by an average of about 3,000 cars on a daily basis.

Is Gates Pass Road in AZ worth it?

The drive through this narrow and twisty desert mountain pass on the outskirts of Tucson is very scenic and the unparalleled desert views along are breathtaking. The road is lined with scenic overlooks, and is an area where locals and tourists come to watch the sunset. The drive provides an exceptional place to photograph a desert sunset anytime of year or a thunderstorm over the valley during the late summer. Here you can observe a great desert landscape populated by saguaros on steep mountain slopes and see truly spectacular sunsets. The pass can be visited at any time during the day but is most popular during the hours of sunset and/or sunrise because of the amazing view its various outlooks provide. After a scenic windy drive up into Tucson Mountain Park, you can pull into one of the numerous parking spaces and enjoy panoramic views of the desert below.



Pin It

To use information contained on this site is to do so at your own risk. is not responsible for the information contained in these pages. The website is for information purposes only and we assume no liability for decisions made as a result of the information provided here. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety.