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Trudging out to the chicken coop in thigh high snow has got me dreaming of warmer days. I always get a little restless as January draws to a close. I love winter and a fresh blanket of fluffy white but I find myself craving the warm sun on my face. Since I’ve got a while until spring, I thought I’d relive some adventures I had this fall. Maybe thinking about the sunshine will brighten things up?
Well, a girl can wish can’t she?
Back in November, I took a trip to see my auntie in Arizona. We ate good food, laughed, and even went to a neat little hole in the wall mineral spa for a soak and massage. It was just what I needed! One day we headed out to the Coronado National Forest for some hiking in Sabino Canyon. Sabino Canyon is this pretty oasis nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, just outside of Tucson. It’s easy to get to and very accessible. You can take trails and hike all day or take the tram for a 45 minute ride.
This place was so different than what I’m used to here in Utah. Instead of aspens, evergreens, or even scrub oak, this forest is comprised of massive tree like saguaro cacti.
It’s hard to tell from my cell snaps but these guys are absolutely humongous! They can grow up to 60+ feet and live to be hundreds of years old. They lined the canyon walls which had the coolest effect. It was like walking through an old western movie.
My imagination was running wild and I loved every minute.
There are several different trails you can take in the canyon.
We didn’t have a ton of time so we road the tram up to the top and then hiked back down along the creek to the visitor center. I highly recommend taking the tram at least once because the tour guides share loads of info on how the canyon came to be, different rock formations, canyon history, uses, and stories. I tend to geek out over that kind of stuff.
My favorite part of the canyon were the skinny old handbuilt bridges. There are 9 of them in the canyon and they are each a little different and unique. The bridges are so narrow that the tram busses have to go one at a time.
There are all these pretty little pools along the creek and I could see little kids just having a blast playing in them. Due to summer monsoons, the creek runs pretty much all year long which keeps the canyon floor lush and green.
Maybe it’s because I’m not from the area but I found the plant life really diverse and beautiful. Isn’t it cool how you can find something beautiful in any climate anywhere in the world? I love that!
Directions & Hours:
Just outside of Tucson, you can find the Visitors Center of Sabino Canyon at 5700 N. Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ 85750 or go HERE for a map of the area. The visitor’s center is open 7 days a week from 8-4:30 but the canyon stays open so you can hike around at your convenience.
Restrooms at the visitor’s center and in the canyon.
Parking is $5 per vehicle per day
Tram fee is $10 for adults & $5 for kids (3-12 yrs)
What to Bring:
Hat or Sunglasses
Snacks (There are vending machines at the visitor’s center if needed)
What to Know:
Because this canyon is near residential areas, it’s a pretty high use place. You probably won’t be the only person there, especially if you go at peak times in the fall, winter, and spring but don’t let the that deter you. It’s a fun little place! The summer is HOT so be prepared if that’s when you are visiting. Oh, and be on the lookout for some really cool animals like Bobcats, snakes, roadrunners, lizards, quail, and Gila Monsters! I tried to sneak up on a roadrunner but he took off before I could get a good pic. I’m guessing there are some super cool bugs here too if you are looking for them.
I know I say this ALL THE TIME but please, keep to the code.
Leave no trace, peeps, I beg you!
Sabino Canyon was a great little adventure and the perfect day trip to end a fun weekend visit.
The pools are beautiful, the bridges are crazy cool, and the cacti… cactus… whatever it is called, it’s a sight to behold. This little canyon oasis is perfect for families and kids would love it. I think even the desert haters out there could find something to catch their eye.
Is it weird to say I fell in love with cactus, because I’m pretty sure I did?