Sabino Canyon

If you’re looking for stunning views, fresh air, and a serene spot to get to know the natural side of Tucson, a trip to Sabino Canyon is in order.

Sabino Canyon is located in the Coronado National Forest in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountain range. The mountains around Tucson are affectionately called the Sky Islands. Imagine these sky islands towering over the desert floor, offering a respite from the heat found down below.

Sabino Creek begins a full 6,000 feet above the desert below and winds its way through ten miles of mountain canyons before reaching the desert floor. Depending on the season, Sabino Creek can be a rushing torrent or a mere trickle. Plants and wildlife have adjusted to the seasonal floodwaters and dry spells.

Sabino Canyon is a rugged and beautiful area rich in plant and animal life. Giant Saguaros stand guard while desert wildlife does its best to blend into the scenery. Temperatures range from blazing hot in the summer to snow and frost in the winter.

Get a first hand look at the Sonoran Desert by taking the self-guided Desert Nature Trail found at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. Afterwards, take a shuttle bus or hike a system of trails into the canyon where you’ll find desert oases and rugged mountains. The shuttle bus driver will discuss the area’s geology and history while winding the bus through the canyon and over rock bridges.

As you ride the shuttle through Sabino Canyon or through nearby Bear Canyon you’ll notice numerous picnic areas. You may get off the shuttle at any of the tram stops and catch a later shuttle. Bring your hiking boots and explore Sabino Canyon on foot to get a true appreciation of this rugged but beautiful area.

If you enjoy bird watching, take Sabino Lake Trail #30 to the wetlands.

If you want a spectacular canyon view, Phone Line Trail is the trail to take especially in the fall when the leaves turn color. Remnants of an old telephone line system remain from the days when the Great Western Power Company had grand plans of building a huge power generating dam in Bear Canyon. Fortunately, those plans fizzled out and the beauty of this area is preserved.

For an invigorating hike, Hutch’s Pools is a popular destination when the creek is flowing. Take the shuttle to tram stop #9 and plan on spending 6-8 hours hiking. This is a hike for intermediate to advanced hikers.

Bicyclists may ride on certain paved trails before 9:00 AM and after 5:00 PM with the exception of Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Sabino Canyon is open year round and costs just $5 for the day. Shuttle bus tours cost from $1 to $7.50 depending on route and age. Access to Sabino Canyon is limited to the shuttle bus, foot traffic and bicycles.

Getting to Sabino

Getting to Sabino Canyon is easy from Tucson. Simply take Tanque Verde Road and turn north on Sabino Canyon Road. Continue for four miles to the visitor center.

More Information

Santa Catalina Ranger District
5700 North Sabino Canyon Rd
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 749-8700


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