Our Favorite Fall Tucson Hikes
As the weather finally gives us a break from summer temperatures, it's time to start building your outdoor to-do list in Tucson. Here's a list of some of our favorite hikes for when the weather cools down in the Sonoran Desert.
Sabino Canyon Stop 8
If you consider yourself a novice hiker and are looking for a fun and easy way to get outdoors, Sabino Canyon is for you! Just minutes from Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Sabino Canyon is an extremely popular recreation area for locals and visitors alike. Hop aboard the tram (which runs daily, every 30 minutes) and enjoy the 3.8-mile informational tour as it guides you through the canyon, with nine stops along the way where you can get out and enjoy the surroundings, including rest areas and picnic grounds. Locals recommend new visitors ride the tram to stop 8, where you can get off and take a dip in the natural waterfalls before hiking back down to the Visitor’s Center on foot. The best of both worlds! (There is a $5-a-day parking fee per vehicle and the tickets for the tram are $10/adult and $5/child).
Tucson is a hiker’s paradise and when the local college students want to get outdoors for a quick hike they head to Tumamoc Hill. Located five miles west of campus in Downtown Tucson, Tumamoc Hill is home to a university research facility, preserve, and a small astronomical observatory. The 3-mile round-trip paved trail rises over 700 feet and offers hikers scenic views of both the desert landscape and the city below. This free hiking trail is perfect to way to squeeze in some outdoor exercise before temperatures rise too high, so plan an early morning or later afternoon hike to avoid the hottest time of the day.
Photo provided by azutopia.com
A fairly moderate hike, this can also be great for runners. The lower part of the trail can be good for running, although it gets a bit more challenging as you get closer to the falls. The best time of year for this trail is after the summer monsoon rains, so there is plenty of water at the falls. October through April is usually best and it generally isn’t too hot at these times either. Always remember to take about three times more water than you think you will need (if not more) and hats are a good idea to avoid sunburn and direct heat. Unfortunately, this is not a dog-friendly hike so leave Fido at home where it's nice and cool.
Photo provided by azutopia.com
Get a little more of a workout with a hike up Ventana Canyon to the Maiden Pools. This trailhead is located right next door to the resort and is often recommended by our Team Members to those looking for an early-morning adventure. Be sure to bring plenty of water as the terrain can be steep at times with a 1000-foot gain in elevation along the way. This 2.5 mile journey to the Maiden Pools, an area of smooth eroded rock with pockets holding water year-round, is well worth the effort.
Hikers who seek a real challenge will love the Window Rock Trail, which is just another four miles along the same Ventana Canyon trail past the Maiden Pools. This hike is not for the faint of heart, as it runs 5.2 miles and can take several hours to complete. Follow along the lush vegetation of the desert with a moderate incline until you reach the ‘Window Rock’, a 25-foot-wide natural cutout showcasing unbeatable views of Tucson below. (Fun Fact: Ventana in Spanish means window and was the source of the name of the canyon and the resort!)