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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

Sabino Canyon, The Local Jewel in Tucson

Updated: May 23

For the start of this road trip go to Along the Southern Border.

When we were in Tucson on our way east some locals told us about a hike called Sabino Canyon. I found it after some research. It is called Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. We drove there from our campsite at Kartchner Caverns. It is in the Coronado National Forest. The Coronado National Forest, nestled in the southern part of Arizona, is a breathtaking expanse of natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. It encompasses a wide range of landscapes, from rugged mountains to expansive grasslands, and is home to an array of plant and animal species. One of the crown jewels within the forest is Sabino Canyon, a stunning desert oasis located near Tucson. Sabino Canyon offers a captivating blend of rugged canyons, crystal-clear streams, and towering saguaro cacti. From the Visitor Center, it is 4 miles uphill on a paved road and back on the same road. There is an option to take a shuttle up to the top and walk downhill 4 miles which is what we did. There were some awesome saguaro cactus and rock formations. Sabino Creek crossed the road in a few places so our shoes got wet but it was well worth it.

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

I again will mention talking to fellow campers and locals. We added this stop to our return trip, after it was mentioned by several locals (including the grocery store check-out clerk). It is a jewel and I can see why the locals are so proud of this beauty. As Mick mentioned above, it meant walking through water in a few places on the trail. Although it was shallow, I have found a hiking stick helpful in determining how deep a creek is and to help with balance. For general hiking, adjust the length so that when you hold the pole with the tip on the ground near your foot, your arm makes a 90-degree bend at the elbow. This will be the right length for most of your hiking. If you prefer a staff, it should be even with your shoulder.

Time to head home


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