Sabino Canyon lies in the Santa Catalina Mountains and is part of the Coronado National Forest. The canyon has been a source of life for several cultures over the centuries. The Clovis people used the canyon nearly 13,000 years ago to hunt bison and mammoths. Then the Hohokam Indians arrived in the canyon to use the water for their ingenious irrigation systems. The Papago and Pima Indians came along and hunted game in Sabino Canyon. During the 1870’s pony soldiers from Fort Lowell rode up to the canyon for a day of swimming.
Then in the 1940’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed bridges, picnic tables and walls to help preserve the canyon. Today visitors can enjoy the trail and amenities provided at Sabino Canyon. The canyon offers a variety of outdoor fun for its visitors. You may chose from swimming, bird watching, picnicking, hiking and horseback riding. There are many kinds of wildlife that make their home in the canyon, such as deer and birds.
Sabino Creek flows all year round, except for one or two months, depending on the weather season for the year. The color of the creek’s water is a brownish shade, due to the tannin found in oak tree roots and pine needles. The water provides a good environment for crayfish and sunfish. Swimming is so much fun in the natural pools, along the creek.
One of the special highlights of this canyon is the Sabino Canyon Tours. These tours offer a narrated tram tour into the canyon. It is a great way to take in nature’s beauty. The 45-minute tour takes visitors along a three and a half mile paved round trip journey through the canyon. You will travel through cottonwoods, willow trees and sycamores. It is a great choice, if your time is short. The tram makes nine stops on the way to the top. These stops are great for hikers to get to the trailhead or for picnickers to get to a great spot to enjoy a meal. You can get on and off as often as you like, as long as it is it a designated point. Another tram will take hikers up to the Bear Canyon Trail. This two and a half mile hike takes you to the Seven Falls. This waterfall drops 500 feet down the side of a hill and is an amazing sight.
There is a moonlight tram tour offered in April through December, three nights a week. It takes visitors on a wonderful journey. The tour is much slower paced than the daytime tram ride, but it does stop at the top. The moonlight tour is approximately 75 minutes long and does not have narration. You will need to make a prepaid reservation to attend the moonlight tram tour. If you are interested, you may call 520-749-2327.
There is a visitor reception desk at the canyon to help you enjoy your visit to Sabino Canyon completely. Please may sure you allow a minimum of one hour to see the canyon. Pets and motor vehicles are not permitted in the canyon.
The canyon is open everyday from 8:00 to 4:30 pm. There is no admission fee, but if you are interested in the tram there is a charge. The tram tour is $6.00 and $2.50 for ages 3 to 12. If you have more questions, you may call 520-749-2861.
You can get to Sabino Canyon from Tucson by taking Sabino Canyon Road north into the Sabino Canyon or by taking Sunrise Drive east into Sabino Canyon. If you are coming from Phoenix take Interstate 10 south out of town to Tucson. Just as you get to Tucson take the Ina Road exit and head east on Ina Road. The road then veers southeast and changes into Skyline Drive. Continue on Skyline Drive for a while, until the road change to Sunrise Drive. Take Sunrise Drive right into Sabino Canyon.
Sabino Canyon is a real nature lover’s treat. The tram tour is a delightful way to see the area.