Sabino Canyon, Tucson

5 out of 5 stars 19 Reviews

5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd. Tucson, AZ 85750 (520) 749-2861

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  • Breakfast canyon trail
    Breakfast canyon trail
    by Africancrab
  • My hiking party
    My hiking party
    by Africancrab
  • Hiking party
    Hiking party
    by Africancrab
  • Africancrab's Profile Photo

    Hiking Breakfast Canyon

    by Africancrab Written Aug 13, 2012
    My hiking party
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    By now you know I love hiking! I have never been to the Canyon to have breakfast! Well, I still did not have breakfast in the Canyon with this particular hike, however, I can say with certainty that I have trekked down Sabino Canyon's Breakfast Canyon Wash! The breakfast Canyon trail is an almost 5 mile hike that we undertook till 8:30 pm. The trail head begins right down the creek a few meters from the Sabino Canyon recreation centre. A reasonable turn up by members of the Southern Arizona Adventure Company and the X-Hiking team. This was a beautiful night hike with a starry sky and quarter moon, quite simply adventurous. The air feels fresher at night did you know?

    Located in the Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon is also part of the Coronado National Forest. The Canyon offers beautiful scenery, washes, water falls, creeks, great trails for hiking and biking, picnic areas and view points that take your breath away. Last year when my Canadian girlfriend Roselle visited, we went hiking at Bear Canyon but managed only two miles on foot, the rest was on the tram. When Steve (Mr. X) from my Hiking Group suggested the Breakfast Canyon at night, I wondered how safe I would be given the rattle snakes and mountain lions . . . not to mention I did not have night lights and knew very few of the people I would be in company of.

    My fears were laid to rest when I finally met the crew, I knew half of them. Breakfast Canyon is an easy hike and can be categorized as beginners or amateur. Very little incline and a steady drop through the Breakfast Canyon walk, before we started to the locate of the picnic tables. We sat down after the hike and watched the moon grace the sky with its presence. Great outdoor activity should you find yourself in Tucson. Happy Trails!

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    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Don't miss the shuttle!

    by Bunsch Written Jun 16, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Unfamiliar plants (not my pic)
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    We were all pretty excited to visit Sabino Canyon, which is billed as a "desert oasis" at the eastern edge of the Sonoran Desert. I thought those had to be in relatively flat territory, but I was completely wrong. In fact this is a long, relatively narrow canyon with Sabino Creek (which flows 9-11 months of the year) carving its way from the high country down to Sabino Lake. Once you've parked by the Visitors' Center, you may board a shuttle for the 3.7 mile ride up to 3,300 feet, during which the road crosses the creek on nine stone bridges constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The "summit" is also the jumping off point for a number of hiking trails, particularly the Telephone Line Trail which runs along the southern slope of the creek and provides spectacular views. Be aware that even if it is sunny and hot in town, the weather may be considerably cooler in the canyon. Also, drinking water is not available; you need to pack in your own supply.

    With a group of relative youngsters along for the ride, it didn't seem like a bad idea to begin walking down the road from the summit. In fact, most of the kids RAN down it (I can't say whether they violated the 15 mph speed limit). And the shuttles passed, but each time we were between stops and therefore couldn't climb on. Some members of the group began to tire, get thirsty or footsore, etc. Luckily there was so much snowmelt that the road was covered with water in some places -- very cold water, too! -- and everybody stopped to cool their heels, quite literally.

    By the time we'd gone more than half-way, I was carrying someone piggy-back and swearing that I'd throw myself in front of the next shuttle, no matter which direction it was traveling. I wasn't particular whether they'd let me on or run over me.

    Still, it was a fabulous morning. Crystalline air, gorgeous views, the smell of pines and the sight of all kinds of unfamiliar plants all made me exceptionally glad we'd come.

    But trust me, you do not want to miss the shuttle!

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    • Cycling
    • Family Travel

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  • toddecus's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Desert Mountains

    by toddecus Written Mar 18, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entrance to Sabino Canyon Park
    4 more images

    Can't think of a more lovely way to spend family vacation than taking the tram up into Sabino Canyon and then hiking down. Highly recommend bringing a picnic basket full of goodies and making an afternoon of it. The tempature is a little chilly in January, but it was still a wonderful outing.

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    • Desert
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • leplaya's Profile Photo

    Sabino Canyon

    by leplaya Updated Feb 9, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a recreational area in the northeast part of Tucson. I didn't get a chance to spend a lot of time here. The environment is like that of Saguaro National Park, but it's a little more developed. There are paved roads and many of the hiking trails are adjacent to it (at least the ones that are close to the visitor's center). There is a $5 entrance fee, but if you want to take the shuttle deeper into the park (you can't drive) there is an additional fee. Apparantly there are some small waterfalls deeper into the park, but we didn't get a chance to see them.

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  • Guided Tour and Trails

    by jnadler Updated Aug 12, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the bottom, waiting for the tram
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    This is something to see. There is a tram that will take you to the top and back if you choose. It stops along the way, so you can get on and off whenever you like. On the way up, there is a guided tour, and the tram stops and waits at the top so that the riders can take their pictures. We rode the tram all the way to the top, took our pictures, and then rode it part of the way back down, getting off to walk the rest of the way down. The path we walked had a lot of different kinds of plants, including mistle toe ;-)

    There were also people there who were, despite the heat, jogging, riding bikes, and setting up picnics along the path. Our tour guide warned that there had been mountain lion sightings within the past year, and they give you instructions for what to do in case you meet one, but I don't think it was too serious of a problem.

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  • tetonski1's Profile Photo

    "Take a Tour of Sabino Canyon!"

    by tetonski1 Written Jul 17, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Steph Takes the Tour of the Canyon

    On the outkirts of Tucson lies this wonderful state park. You can hike though many different trails on the hills that rise above the canyon and it's beautiful river.

    We chose to take the guided tour up, and found out a lot of interesting facts about the area. The ride down is silent so we decided to hike down along the river and it was beautiful.

    I was jealous of the people running up the trail though, I wish I could do that. There were a lot of people here, so it's best to get there early so you can get tickets for the tour before they sell out, and so you don't get the worst heat of the day.

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  • cmarsek's Profile Photo

    Beauty In The Desert!!

    by cmarsek Written Jun 19, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Such beauty in the desert!

    We explored Sabino Canyon on my last day in Tucson. It was 94 degrees in the shade and AT LEAST 106 in the direct sun but since it was such a dry heat I didn't mind it too much.

    It was a bit disconcerting that they were so adament about their mountain lion warnings at the beginning of the tour, but I guess they had experienced an attack (and resulting death) the week before, so there was good reason.

    The canyon was a great way to see and experience the desert as well as learn a bit of history on the tram ride. You can take the tram to any of 9 stops and walk whichever portion of the trail you'd like. It is very convenient for tourists of all abilities.

    The desert was full of color during my visit due to the fact it had received a great amount of rain during the winter (unusual here), which was stored and exhibited in the plantlife during the late spring. Normally this desert receives its rain during the summer and it evaporates quickly due to the heat. The cool winter weather allowed the water to be stored in greater amounts.

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  • zuriga's Profile Photo

    SABINO CANYON

    by zuriga Updated Mar 15, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SABINO CANYON

    Sabino Canyon is a pretty spot for hiking, walking or just taking a tram ride through the beautiful scenery. It's possible to ride to the top and walk back or hop on the tram at one of 9 stops. Most tourists to Tucson make this one of their visits.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • just4funds's Profile Photo

    High Desert Splendor

    by just4funds Written Feb 14, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    LOOKING  UP  FROM  THE  ROAD

    The Sabino Canyon is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in regards to the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest. "In the eastern foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range, Sabino Canyon is a world of natural beauty. Stunning vistas, the freshness of the morning air, the tranquility of running creek water, and the rugged backdrop of Thimble Peak. . .make this place so unique." Friends of Sabino Canyon


    This was a great area, I wish I had more than a few hours to be there. I took the express visit with a group of customers, where you are herded onto a cattle car [tram] and whisked up the canyon road , pausing only to stop for literally just a few seconds at the 9 drop/pickup points. The tram driver we had was a well-seasoned chap who really didn't like people slowing him down or getting in his way. The paved road is solely for trams and park vehicles, and is barely wide enough at that so when a walker was crossing a bridge that the tram needed to cross the driver didn't like to wait. He would even berate you over the PA, and once rolling again he would continue to mumble under his breath. It would have been funny but he was pretty harsh.

    Needless to say, my pictures were taken from a moving vehicle on a curving, twisting, turning, winding, rising, falling canyon road, so they're not the best. The tram trip leaves much to desire, and I suggest making a day of it and hiking the trails.

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  • lamentforicarus's Profile Photo

    Sabino Canyon Rec. Area

    by lamentforicarus Written May 28, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sabino Canyon is another spectacular location for hiking, horseback riding, and bird watching. The creek at the bottom of the canyon flows nearly year-round, supporting an abundance of plant and animal life. It is not uncommon to spy a bobcat, deer, or the elusive Mountain Lion drinking from the creek, escaping the arid desert climate beneath the willow and cottonwood trees that grow along the gentle trickle of water. For scenic views of the Area, hop on a shuttle bus, which conduct 45 minute narrated tours. For those wanting to learn more about archeology, a nonprofit group researching the Sabino Canyon ruin offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about excavation and analysis of ancient sites, and conducts training programs and tours around the 1000 year old Hohokam settlement.

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    • Desert

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  • jedd43's Profile Photo

    Sabino Canyon shuttle

    by jedd43 Updated Apr 4, 2004

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sabino Canyon Transportation

    Sabino Canyon has a shuttle you can ride up and down the canyon and get off where ever you want to and hike. I think there were 8 or 9 different stops.
    Click the pic for details. .

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  • Sabino Canyon

    by celicababee Written Feb 25, 2003

    It's geared towards any type of athlete, and non-athletes with motor tours and walkpaths.
    Want to get away from the crowd? There are tons of places to go off the beaten path to find your own piece of nirvana.

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  • bottleofdoom's Profile Photo

    Sabino Canyon: Twelve thousand...

    by bottleofdoom Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sabino Canyon: Twelve thousand years ago, Columbian mammoth roamed here. About 1200 A.D., irrigation dams were placed in the creek by Hohokam Indians. In the 1870's, pony soldiers from Ft. Lowell enjoyed horseback excursions to the 'ol' swimmin' hole' still in use today. In the 1930's, 180 C.C.C. workers built bridges and 3.8 miles of road up into the Santa Catalina Mtns. Many varieties of birds, deer and other animals make their home here in the Coronado National Forest. Hiking trails and picnic areas abound in the canyon.
    Shuttle Bus: Today, the shuttle bus operates 365 days a year. A narrated round trip is 45 mins. and travels the most cameraworthy scenery in the Tucson area. Moonlight rides 3 nights per month are available by reservation April through December.
    There is a great hike to The Seven Falls that starts here. It's about a 4-5 hour hike round trip, so bring lots of water. It's pretty level, so not too strenuous. It is so named because there are seven water falls at the end of it that are spectacular. But, summer time is not a good time to go because the falls are usually dried up. Best to go Jan-March. The visitor's center will have maps on which trail to take.

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  • TRimer's Profile Photo

    Sabino Canyon

    by TRimer Written Feb 25, 2003
    Base of the Canyon

    Nestled in the foothills of Arizona's southern Catalina Mountains 12 miles from downtown Tucson, the oasis of Catalina Canyon is one of the most scenic spectacles in Arizona. A paved road runs 3.8 miles into the canyon, crossing 9 stone bridges over Sabino Creek. It begins at an altitude of 2,800 feet and rises to 3,300 feet at its end, a popular drop-off in summer because of the swimming holes at Hutch's Pool and The Crack.

    Winding through the canyon, visitors who follow the road have views of the creek, the riparian vegetation, magnificent Saguaros on the canyon walls, and towering rock formations. Picnic areas are scattered along the road, as are trailheads leading to other sections of the National Forest or paralleling the road. Within the canyon, visitors travel by foot or horseback. Bicycles are permitted before 9am or after 5pm any day except Wednesdays and Saturdays .

    The only motorized vehicles allowed on the 3.8-mile paved road that leads through the canyon are the Sabino Canyon/Bear Canyon shuttles and Park Service vehicles. Ramadas at the entrance give canyon visitors a place to sit and watch the wildlife while waiting for the shuttle.

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  • Davidp1952's Profile Photo

    Seven Falls

    by Davidp1952 Written Feb 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A two mile hike from Sabino Canyon. Absolutely beautiful when the water is running. Best to visit in the Spring or during the summer monsoon season. Check conditions after heavy rain, the trail may be unaccessible.

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