Visit one of the most scenic spectacles in Arizona, the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in Tucson. Surrounded by the soaring Santa Catalina Mountains and unique plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert the Canyon is truly a wonderful place to spend a day.
The southern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountain range are alive with scenic views that can be explored by foot or on horseback. First-time visitors should stop by at the visitor center at the base of the canyon before heading off to explore the Recreation Area.
Things to do in Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is open daily and offers a great deal of information on Sabino Canyon and the surrounding mountains. Located immediately north of the parking lot, the Center is staffed with knowledgeable guides who can answer questions the trails and points of interest in the canyon. The center also has hands-on exhibits and videos available for visitors to enjoy.
Sabino Canyon Tram Route
For those not up to hiking the many trails into the Sabino Canyon, there is the option of taking a tram ride through the canyon. There are two routes to choose from. The Upper Sabino Canyon route lasts for an hour. The tram is narrated on the way up with the driver highlighting various points of interest along the route. After a short stop for photos, the Sabino Canyon tram returns to the visitor center.
Bear Canyon Tram Route
The second route is the Bear Canyon route that stretches over 2 miles to the mouth of the Bear Canyon. This is a non-narrated tram ride with three stops along the way. The end of the tram ride is at the trailhead for the popular hike to Seven Falls. Tickets are available at the Visitor Center for a small fee. A popular option is to take the tram up into the canyon and walk back downhill to the parking lot.
Hiking in Sabino Canyon
The best way to explore the Sabino Canyon is through one of the many trails. With over 30 miles of trails ranging from easy to challenging there are plenty of hikes to choose from. For beginners or those short on time, there is the Bajada Loop Nature Trail at the visitor center. This quarter-mile features interpretive signs and a rare-crested saguaro.
Seven Falls Trail
By far the most popular tail in the recreation area the Seven Falls Trailhead starts at the Bear Canyon tram stop. This hike is rated as moderately easy and is a four-mile round trip from the tram stop. You will encounter several water crossings along the route along with a final switchback climb before you reach the falls. Winter or early spring are the best times to visit the falls when water flows down the Catalina mountains into Sabino Creek.
Hutch’s Pool Sabino Canyon
Hutch’s Pool is an 8-mile round trip from the tram turnaround point on Sabino Canyon Road ( end of pavement). From there you follow Sabino Canyon Trail for a little over two miles. Then take the marked West Fork Trail for until you reach your destination. Hutch’s Pool has water year-round and is popular with cliff divers and can get very busy on weekends.
Phone Line and Blackett’s Ridge Trails
Try the Phoneline Trail that moves away from the Bear Canyon Trail and zigzags up the east wall of the Sabino Canyon, covering 5 miles of hiking trails. For impressive views, try the Blackett’s Ridge that is a steep climb that ends at a high ledge, offering some of the most scenic views in the area.
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a15 mile drive from downtown Tucson. The Visitor Center hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, seven days a week. Visit the Canyons website for up to date information. Address 5700 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, Arizona.