Vibrant sunset vistas abound on urban hiking trails in Tucson, Arizona

Tucson is proud to be a little out there; a place to free your spirit and create your own experience that suits your soul. It’s a clear sky kind of city; a natural oasis from the usual where the sun rarely takes a vacation and sunsets steal the spotlight in a dazzling display of colors. 

Whether it’s finding outdoor adventure, wellness, or culinary magic, Tucson is a welcoming haven for all to explore without boundaries. 

Outdoor Adventures for Everyone

With over 300 days of sunshine and a diverse landscape, featuring rugged, desert terrain, and green mountain forests, Tucson offers endless outdoor adventures and a chance to soak up some Vitamin D—sample some of these favorites from locals and visitors alike.

Adrenaline-pumping rock climbing

Hiking & Rock Climbing

Tucson has a best-kept secret—it’s a city immersed in a national park (Saguaro National Park). Within a 10-mile drive from anywhere in Tucson, it’s easy to access mountain ranges and bajadas (slopes) on either side of the city. Hike in the beauty of the desert and discover flora— including 200-year-old saguaro cacti—and fauna found nowhere else in the world. Explore hiking trails for all levels in Saguaro National Park and Catalina State Park, or a take a gorgeous urban hike in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. 

Looking to get your adrenaline pumping? Head up Mount Lemmon Highway into Coronado National Forest to find a wealth of rocky outcroppings and stony hoodoos with over one 1,000 established rock-climbing routes.

Mountain biking in the Sonoran Desert

Biking

The city is also afforded a rare luxury: to be encircled by five mountain ranges, some known as “sky islands,” where visitors can find themselves transported from the desert floor to conifer forests within an hour’s drive from the city. From mountain biking to road cycling, riders can find trails just about everywhere.

Test your cycling skills upon Mount Lemmon, a training ground for professionals, for a challenging and beautiful climb, explore dozens of mountain biking trails in the Tucson Mountains, or stay in the city and ride The Loop, a 130-mile urban bike trail.

Tucson and Southeast Arizona are prime locations to see local and migratory birds.

Bird Watching

Did you know that Tucson and Southern Arizona is a destination for world-class birding? Slow things down with exploration at Sweetwater Wetlands to see native birds year-round, head to the Willcox Playa to view migrating sandhill cranes or take the beautiful drive to Madera Canyon to find birds found nowhere else in the United States.

Stargazing at Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter

After Dark

As day turns to night, it’s time for some serious stargazing. Tucson is often called the astronomy capital of the world and begs for you to look up. Prepare to be mesmerized by Tucson’s night skies—whether viewing the galaxy from telescopes at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium or joining a guided tour at Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter observatory. 

Still ready to play? Tucson’s vibrant nightlife comes alive in downtown Tucson with live music, craft beer-tastings and more. It’s a place where patio seating is ubiquitous day and night. 

Horseback Riding at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

Things in Between

There are no boundaries when it comes to creating unique outdoor adventures. Join a guided yoga hike and take your practice into the saguaro-studded desert to recharge. Or saddle up for a horseback ride at a local guest ranch and catch a blazing sunset from atop a vista.

The region’s borderland culture and Old West history also means there are plenty of diverse outdoor attractions and museums to explore. Spend a day at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a 98-acre zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, and natural history museum; or book a tour to see Spanish colonial architecture at Mission San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark still serving its Tohono O’odham community.

While out exploring, discover why several James Beard Award-winning chefs call Tucson home. Designated by UNESCO as the first City of Gastronomy in the United States, Tucson offers an exciting modern food scene with a rich culinary heritage that spans 4,000 years. The city also boasts the “Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food,” a self-guided tour of local, authentic Mexican-style eateries. Besides, Tucson just happens to be the perfect place to find the perfect taco—hungry yet? 

Learn more at VisitTucson.org.

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