The Living Desert
Visitors can get back to nature with a tour on or off the beaten path. Urban Tucson is bordered by five mountain ranges and wilderness with plenty of designated places for accessible hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping. From its position in the heart of the Sonoran Desert region of the Southwestern United States, Tucson is a sage-green land of exotic, summer- and spring-flowering cacti and fascinating nocturnal wildlife.
The Cool Pines
From cactus stands to pine forests, the winding drive from the base of the Tucson valley to the 2,792-meter summit of Mt. Lemmon, landmark in the Santa Catalina Mountains, traverses seven of the world’s nine life zones – it’s like driving from Canada to Mexico in 60 minutes. The summit town of Summerhaven provides a cool summer escape for picnickers, hikers, cyclists, and campers.
Authentic Old West
Visitors can relive the iconic era of the American West during stunt shows, musical revues, horse-drawn carriage rides, and historical re-enactments in Tombstone, Arizona – known as “the town too tough to die.” Located just 70 miles south of Tucson, this famous, restored 1880s town has preserved its dusty streetscapes where Old West legends such as Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp lived and died. Authentic sites are open for business or tours, including the O.K. Corral, Boothill Graveyard, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, and the Bird Cage Theater.
Bird Watching Haven
Tucson is ranked among the top bird-watching areas in North America. Tucson’s diverse terrain, warm winters and rainy summers, and location on the migratory path between Canada and Mexico make it an ideal, year-round destination for amateur and professional bird watching adventures. A wide variety of species can be observed all year long although the hummingbirds are especially plentiful. Birding festivals with prominent naturalists and guided tours and overnight excursions take place throughout the year.
Southern Arizona Wine Country
The first wine grapes in Southern Arizona were planted by Spanish missionaries more than 300 years ago. Today, the Sonoita-Elgin area, near Tucson, produces some of the most distinctive wines in the United States. This picturesque area of rolling grasslands and low mountain ranges is home to a “trail” of at least 10 acclaimed wineries, including Sonoita Vineyards – the oldest and first winery in the state of Arizona, which host tastings, tours, and seasonal festivals.
Downtown Dining Evolution
With some 50 established restaurants and more on the way, Downtown Tucson is serving up culinary adventure. Many of the newest restaurants offer menus that focus on traditional regional ingredients – like the culinary “three sisters” of the Southwest: corn, squash, and beans – and cooked with contemporary Southwestern flare by classically trained chefs. The new “Sense of Place” menu at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails highlights the diversity and flavors of southern Arizona.
Urban Hiking & Biking Trail
Recent progress has increased to 100 miles the length of The Loop, a multi-use trail being developed around Tucson/Pima County. A key link in the trail was completed last summer, connecting the Santa Cruz River Park with the Julian Wash Greenway. At the new junction, there are mesquite tree-shaded parks and sites once occupied by a prehistoric community. Work is ongoing to add more miles of trails that follow the banks of dry riverbeds throughout the city/county.