San Xavier Travel Guide

  • San Xavier
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui

San Xavier Things to Do

  • Grotto Hill San Xavier del Bac Mission

    This is not on mission property. The shrine was original set up by Bishop Granjon in 1908 dedicated to the Virgin Mary and then was turned into a replica of the famous grotto in Lourdes, France. The trail to the shrine loops around the hill. At the top you will have a beautiful view of the valley.

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  • San Xavier del Bac Mission

    Jesuit priest came to this valley to convert the Native America's, the Tohono O'odham tribe. Father Eusebius Kino visited in 1692 and laid the foundation of the first mission. Sadly the Jesuits were expelled by 1767. The Franciscans moved in by 1768 and the completion of the mission was accomplished 1797. The missions architecture is of Spanish...

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  • Saint Francis

    Beneath this alter is the casket of Saint Francis. Tradition goes back to Father Ignacio Joseph Ramirez y Arellano who is believed to have had a miraculous state in death that was witnessed by people from all over the Tucson area. Tradition is for anyone to be able to walk up to touch Saint Francis and leave a prayer. Very unique.

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  • San Xavier del Bac Mission Museum

    The museum is free and open to the public, but they do have donation boxes which helps provide them with upkeep. The museums hours are: 8:30am - 4:30pm daily. It is not a huge museum, but lots of very important artifacts and photographs.

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  • San Xavier del Bac Mission Courtyard

    When you see the museum it takes you to the veranda and courtyard. We didn't get to explore it because it was going through renovation. Yet, we were glad we could see what we could such as the beautiful arched veranda with the exposed ceiling of wood beams.

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  • Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel

    This was used formerly as a mortuary chapel and is now Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel.This is the ancient burying ground. They moved the grounds more west since they worried about health conditions. Along the walls are fourteen pillars bearing niches for the Stations of the Cross worked in high-relief. The chapel is adorned with a beautiful belfry....

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  • See Grotto Hill

    Grotto Hill has a place to pray and see the beauty of the area. The road and trail leading to the top is not well maintained and can get pretty rough. Grotto Hill does not belong to the mission.

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  • See the San Xavier School

    The San Xavier del Bac Mission also sponsors a school to help educate the children from the San Xavier Reservation.

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  • Visit the Museum

    The mission has a nice museum teaching you about the establishment of the mission, its ongoing activities, and the people from the area. Note that the locals referred to the area as Wa:k, not Bac. The museum is open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

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  • Small Chapel

    There is a small chapel just outside the main part of the church used to pray, and light candles, for people.

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  • See the Central Plaza

    There is a central plaza outside the church that is used for meditation and for outdoor church activities.

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  • Inside the Church

    The inside of the mission is as ornate and beautiful as the churches in Europe that inspired its design.

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  • The Mission

    Mission San Xavier del Bac was established by the Jesuit Missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. The present church was built by the Franciscans, between 1783 and 1797. Mission San Xavier del Bac is still a functioning parish church serving the residents of the San Xavier Tohono O'odham Reservation. The mission is open every day of the year from 8...

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  • View the Beautiful Surroundings

    Mission San Xavier del Bac was established by the Jesuit Missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. The present church was built by the Franciscans, between 1783 and 1797. Mission San Xavier del Bac is still a functioning parish church serving the residents of the San Xavier Tohono O'odham Reservation. The mission is in a beautiful area with mountains...

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  • San Xavier Del Bac Mission

    Called the "White Dove of the Desert," San Xavier Del Bac Mission was built in 1783 and is located in the center of a Papago Indian settlement along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, in the very scenic Santa Cruz Valley.You may notice that in our introductory photo there is a scaffoling covering a portion of the front of the mission. That picture...

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  • Prayer Mountain, Grotto and Prayer Fence

    Just to the right of the San Xavier Mission is a small rocky outcrop with a trail leading to the top. We saw many pilgrims climbing the hill so we followed to see what was there. About half way up the "mountain" is a wide level trail which completely encircles it, offering splendid views of the Santa Cruz Valley and distant mountains. A grotto...

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  • The Mission Courtyard

    For my personal taste I much preferred the simple quite beauty of the San Xavier courtyard over the gaudy over-decorated dark sanctuary.A gift shop and a small Museum which tells the story of the San Xavier Mission is just off the courtyard.

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  • Interior of San Xavier Del Bac Mission

    It is interesting that for such a beautiful church there is no record of the architects, builders, or artists responsible for creating it. Virtually every inch of the interior walls and ceiling is covered with art and sculptures, and it is thought to be the work of at least three different artists. The colors, though faded, are still brilliant and...

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San Xavier Restaurants

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Farralee Baldwin and Indian Fry Breads

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Jan 3, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Across the street from the San Xavier Mission is a plaza where you will find stands which serve Indian Fry Bread. This is a local speciality, a thick dough formed into a disc and fried in oil until it comes out bubbly and crispy. In this photo Karen's mother, Farralee Baldwin, is seen with two servings, one topped with cinnamon and the other with honey. For those who want something hotter they also may be topped with red chilies, or for a more substantial meal, try the fry bread topped with beans.

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San Xavier Shopping

  • Native Gifts~

    With the plaza are gift shops of local Tohono O'odham tribe crafts, such as jewelry, pottery, friendship bowls, handmade baskets and etc.

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  • Authentic Tohono O'odham gifts

    Located on east side of the church is another lovely plaza and gift shop entrance. Here you will find all kinds of wonderful gifts to choose from. The folks here are really friendly.The gift shops hours are: 8:00am - 5:00pm daily (holiday hours may vary)

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  • San Xavier Plaza

    The San Xavier Plaza is a small area of shops and a cafe near the mission, located by the parking area. Native American Crafts, religious materials, books, postcards, etc. Check out the world famous Tohono O'odham baskets with the man in the maze designs.

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San Xavier Favorites

  • Volcanic Rock

    I thought this was interesting to share.It reads:Volannic rock was used in the original foundation of the church. Placed beneath the wall's adobe bricks for support. The rock used in the church's foundation are believed to have been gathered near what is now Sentinel Hill (A-Mountain), seven miles to the north of the church.This rock was removed...

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  • san Xavier del Bac Mission National...

    This plaque is located at the front entrance of the church.It reads:San Xavier Del BacHas been disgnated aRegistered National Historic LandmarkUnder the provisions of the historic sites act of August 31, 1935this site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustratingthe History of the United States.U.S.Department of the...

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  • Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

    As we walked the trail which encircles Prayer Mountain we saw two Roadrunners, and this one paused to let us take its picture. The Roadrunner is found in all the southwestern states and is the state bird of New Mexico. It is a species of ground cukoo and is famous for its distinct appearance, its ability to eat rattlesnakes, and its preference to...

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