An Outdoor Mecca

For a lot of people getting outside means getting back to what’s real. If you’re at your best when there’s open sky overhead and dirt under your feet then you’ve come to the right place. Amazing sunsets, unusual wildlife and the locations of your favorite Westerns, are all found here. Tucson’s outdoor environment transports visitors to another world, quite literally. With lush saguaro forests stretching as far as the eye can see, awe-inspiring mountain ranges at every corner of the city, and some of the best sunsets on the planet, it’s not hard to find your moment of serenity here.

Whether you’re looking for a multi-day backpacking excursion or a short hike into the desert you’ll quickly discover that getting outside in Tucson is as real as it gets.

  • Hiking – From an easy stroll along the Rillito riverbed to a rugged climb up to Finger Rock, get your workout on Tucson’s mountain trails.Cycling – Our Urban Loop, bike-friendly streets, and awesome off-road trails make Tucson one of Bicycling magazine’s top cycling destinations.

    Horseback Riding – Whether an experienced equestrian or first-time rider, saddle up at a guest ranch, resort or one of Tucson’s several stables.

    Rock Climbing – Share the day with wildlife in the five mountain ranges that surround Tucson, opening their canyons and vistas to climbers of every skill level.

    Plants & Animals – Tucson is surrounded by desert, but did you know the area has seven of the world’s nine “life zones,” including grasslands and alpine forest? With an elevation range from roughly 2,000 to 9,000 feet, Tucson is home to an amazing variety of ecosystems.

    Outdoor Family Fun – If you’re traveling with kids or just young at heart, get comfortable and have some fun.

    Bird Watching  – Southern Arizona is a birder’s paradise, home or host to more than 250 species of birds, including many riparian dwellers.

    Astronomy – Our clear skies and high mountains have long made Tucson home to some of the world’s most-respected observatories.

    Caves – If you think Southern Arizona is beautiful above ground, just wait ’til you see it from below.

    Tucson downtown skyline and aerial overview (including the University of Arizona) w/ Catalina Mountains at dusk.

    Tucson’s west side is home to the picturesque mountains that shares the city’s name; holding in their grasp desert trails, ancient petroglyphs and towering forests of cacti that make up Saguaro National Park West. Desert dwellers have known this to be a special place for millennia and today’s inhabitants feel the same, enjoying the wide open spaces, the dark night skies and the peace and quiet the mountains provide. But also out on this range you will find two of Tucson’s most famous destinations, each distinctly different but equally entrancing. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum houses native plant and animal species in a setting that is as much part of nature as it is man-made. Old Tucson, is as it sounds, an homage to what Tucson was in the times of the Old West and has been the backdrop to some of the most iconic Western films to ever grace the silver screen. With all of this to see, a mere day on Tucson’s west side is not nearly enough.