10 Best Parks in Tucson: Exploring the City's Wide Open Spaces

Patricia Escarcega

By , Local Expert, Tucson
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Tucson is a nature-lover's paradise. Forests of saguaro cactus, amazing sky islands and rugged mountains in all directions are just some of the city's natural features. Tucson's parks are the best place to explore the city's scenic wonders. Saguaro National Park, which is divided into two sectors that surround the city on the east and west, preserves thousands of saguaro cacti, icons of the southwest. In northwest Tucson, Catalina State Park is another scenic park that showcases the unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Hiking, star-gazing and horseback riding are popular activities year-round. And in the spring, the hillsides...  Read more »

  • 1

    Reid Park Zoo

    Reid Park Zoo is Tucson's version of Central Park, an oasis of green in the heart of midtown.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check out the fun, behind-the-scenes tours."

  • 2

    Colossal Cave Mountain Park

    Colossal Cave Mountain Park in east Tucson offers a fascinating glimpse at a desert cave in a stunning desert setting.

    Local Expert Tip: "Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a lot of fun to explore on horseback. Stop by La Posta Quemada Ranch for horse concessions."

  • 3

    Sabino Canyon

    Sabino Canyon is easily one of the most scenic and beautiful natural areas in Tucson.

    Local Expert Tip: "The Sabino Canyon Trail tour is the most popular. It takes you on a 45-minute tour of the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains."

  • 4

    Catalina State Park

    Catalina State Park is a haven for wildflowers, birds and desert wildlife, all just minutes from downtown Tucson.

    Local Expert Tip: "Visit in the spring for dramatic wildflower displays."

  • 5

    Sentinel Peak Park

    Sentinel Peak in Tucson is one of the city's iconic spaces, rewarding visitors with sweeping city views.

    Local Expert Tip: "Plan an evening hike up to the park. The panoramic views of the city below are worth it."

  • 6

    Saguaro National Park

    Saguaro National Park is home to the Saguaro cactus, the unofficial symbol of the West.

    Local Expert Tip: "For a short, memorable hike, take the Valley View Overlook Trail, offering views of the Avra Valley and distant mountain ranges."

  • 7

    Tohono Chul Park

    Tohono Chul Park is a botanical park that beautifully showcases the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert.

    Local Expert Tip: "For an easy hike, take the scenic Saguaro Discovery Trail."

  • 8

    Fort Lowell Park

    Fort Lowell Park offers visitors a glimpse into Tucson's territorial days in a peaceful park setting.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check out the museum, which features fascinating historical interpretive displays."

  • 9

    Christopher Columbus Park

    Christopher Columbus Park features a stocked leg and dog park, not to mention scenic mountain views.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bring fido--the dog park features a doggie fountain and plenty of space for your four-legged dog to run free."

  • 10

    Catalina Park

    Catalina Park boasts a convenient downtown Tucson location and great people-watching.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bring the kids on a hot day for fun in the splashpad."



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