Friday, January 30, 2015

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon - the main road. Taken 8/13

Out of all the spots we like to go to enjoy Tucson, Sabino Canyon Recreational Center is definitely the one we visit the most. I've mentioned it many times before - we went walking there for the first time the first week that we lived here together, and have gone back many times for letterboxing and hiking. Not only that, but we also go there a couple weeknights every month to go running! It's a great place to see both Tucson's desert and the Catalina Mountains, and is great for running, walking, biking, and hiking. This week, we went to meet up with some letterboxing friends there on one of our free days. We have already gotten most of the boxes in the area, so we decided to take advantage of the time and do a hike we hadn't done before.

View of desert scenery & mountains. Taken 9/13

Sabino Canyon has many trails to enjoy. There is the main paved road that goes 3.7 miles into the canyon, with lots of trails going off of that. When we go running, we always take the paved road. Then there's Bear Canyon Trail, which we have taken before - that eventually leads to 7 Falls. There are trams that run during the day, and they can take you to the end of the roads and back. I learned this week just how busy this place can get during the day - and I'm so glad to see so many people enjoying this beautiful spot in Tucson.

The river that runs through the canyon - Taken 2/14

Of course, Sabino Canyon is also the place where I saw my first, second & third javelina, first tarantula, first, third, and fourth rattlesnakes, and first desert tortoise. It can be a real wilderness experience, so take caution while enjoying the trails! Also, no dogs allowed, so poor Charlotte has to miss out on all the fun we have here. :(

Wildlife is all around out here! Taken 9/14

On Wednesday, we decided to start by taking the paved road all the way to the end. I had only been 3 miles back, so I was finally able to see the last .7, and Curtis was able to see it all in the daylight. (It's always dark by that point when he runs the entire thing!) We reached the end and contemplated taking a tram back to meet up with our boxing friends, but as it turns out you can only take those if you purchased a ticket at the beginning. So instead of going back the same way, we decided to take the Phoneline trail, which goes up the side of the mountain and follows a ridge back to Bear Canyon.

Taken at the end of the paved road - 1/28/15

The beginning of the trail was steep and quickly switchbacked up, but after the first half mile it evened out and stayed constant for the most part. We found it really enjoyable, and considerably cooler than the paved road because we were in the shade more often. The trail was also very well maintained, besides a few rocky bits. I enjoyed looking down and seeing the paved road from above.

Looking down at the end of the paved road from the Phoneline trail

The perfect day for hiking!

Looking down on the paved road going through the canyon.
We were thankful that we took the Phoneline trail from the end of the canyon back out, because as we came out of the canyon, the trail had a long, steady decline rather than a steep, quick one. (But that's just what we prefer, go ahead and do what you prefer when you hike this ;)) We took the trail all the way to the end, where it met with Bear Canyon, then had a bit more to walk to get back to the visitor's center. When we finished and sat down to wait for our boxing friends, we looked at the map and realized that we had just hiked 9.2 miles in under 3 hours, in the heat of the day!

Saguaros have personalities.

Next time you come to Tucson, make sure you save some time to enjoy Sabino Canyon - you won't regret it! Here are some other random pictures from our adventures there. :)

Walking down the main paved trail

Hiking down Bear Canyon Trail

Sunsets at Sabino are Spectacular :)

We brought my mom here and enjoyed a hike at sunset!

On one of the many bridges that cross the river in the canyon

When we brought Curtis' dad here in 9/14, it had rained all day and the creek was flooding!

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