Sabino Canyon is located north of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest. It is a natural desert oasis home to spectacular desert landscapes and abundant wildlife. It is a popular recreation area for residents and visitors of Southern Arizona. When I was growing up, I had family that lived in Tucson so we often took trips to Sabino Canyon. Once you are in the canyon, it’s hard to believe you are only minutes away from the desert!
The Santa Catalina mountain range began its formation over 12 million years ago and around 5 million years ago the mountains ceased formation around the Tucson area. Plant life did not appeared until between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. Some of the earliest human occupants of Sabino Canyon were the Hohokam people. In 1905 the Forest Service was first created and began overseeing Sabino Canyon, the bridges over Sabino Creek and the Sabino Dam were then constructed. The first trams in Sabino Canyon began operating in October of 1978. Once the trams began, access to cars was restricted to allow visitors to reach Upper Sabino Canyon by foot, bicycle or tram. Sabino Canyon Tours was founded in May of 1985 to provide more visitors an opportunity to experience the beauty of Sabino Canyon.
Sabino Canyon Tram tours offers a narrated, educational 45-minute, 3.8 mile tour into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains with nine stops along the tour. The tram turns around at Stop #9 and heads back down to the Visitor’s Center, at that point riders may remain on board and hike back down. A variety of easy to challenging hiking trails are available along the way.
The Sabino Canyon Visitor’s Center has restrooms, beverage machines, and more information about trails in the canyon. Books, tapes and mementos of Sabino Canyon and Southern Arizona are for sale in the gift shop. An informative nature trail identifying many of the desert plants found in the region begins at the Visitor’s Center.
Summer Tram Hours: (July through mid-December)
Weekends & Holidays 9:00am-4:30pm
Winter Tram Hours: (mid-December – June)
$10.00 adults & $5.00 children 3-12 (Children 2 and under are free)
Visitor Center Hours:
For more information, visit: sabinocanyon.com