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What to do for hikers/nature lovers between Phoenix and Tucson?

What to do for hikers/nature lovers between Phoenix and Tucson?

Aug 14th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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What to do for hikers/nature lovers between Phoenix and Tucson?

Hi - we are flying into Phoenix and driving to Tucson for a family wedding. We will arrive in Phoenix mid day and wondered if there is something we can do for two or three hours before we get to Tucson. We like to hike - is there anything around Mt. Lemmon or Catalina(?) that is not too far off the track. Or any other suggestions would be welcome. Thanks, sue
sueoz is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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I like the trails in South Mountain Park, which is not far from the Phoenix airport. Some of the trails are to points with good views of the entire valley. The east end of the park also is right near I-10, which you will take to get to Tucson.

One caveat -- I probably wouldn't want to do much hiking there if it is mid-day and the temp is over 100F.

Here's a site with more information and a trail map.

ms_go is online now  
Aug 14th, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Well, neither Mt. Lemmon or Catalina are on the way from Phoenix to Tucson. The drive up Mt. Lemmon is from the east side of Tucson and not on the way from Phoenix by any means. Catalina State Park is on Oracle Rd, you could get there from Phoenix by either coming "local" streets, via Apache Junction, Florence etc. or exit I-10 at Tangerine Rd. and take a fairly long ride across Tangerine to Oracle Rd. If you are looking to kill two or three hrs (the ride from Phoenix to Tucson takes about 2 anyway) there is not much along the way that would be accessible in your timeframe. You might want to just consider having lunch or doing some shopping. Arizona Mills is right off I-10 and Baseline Rd. in Tempe, on the way from PHX to Tucson. The Chandler Mall is about 5 miles east of I-10 on Chandler Road and there is a nice PF Chang's there. Other then that, aside from some outlet stores in Case Grande there is nothing much to do between the two cities.
Lori is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 05:56 PM
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I meant two or three hours besides the 2 hour drive. We've done the drive before and know that it's pretty boring. We aren't shoppers, etc. and were hoping there was something within a reasonable drive from either Phoenix or Tucson that we could enjoy for a couple of hours before heading to our hotel. Thanks, sue
sueoz is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 07:52 PM
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If you haven't already visited the Desert Sonora Museum on the northside of Tucson, it is more than well worth the visit. It is an outdoor museum of desert animals and plants, absolutely wonderful and the drive getting there through the Saguaro National Park is great too.
desertduds is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 05:07 AM
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I second the idea of a visit to the Desert Sonora Museum.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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You can hike in Picacho Peak State Park which is about halfway between P & T
bigtyke is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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You may want to go to Kartchner Caverns.
They are fabulous and it's nice and cool inside. Call in advance for reservations. You can also hike in the park.
enjoylife is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Catalina State Park is just north of Tucson. Costs $6.00 a day, but there are several hikes of varying degrees of difficulty and we've seen lots of wildlife there.

If you're really adventurous, the Phoenix mountains (especially Camelback and Squaw Peak) are good exercise.

And we did all those hikes in the heat of the afternoon, but take plenty of water if you go that rout.
zelien is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Sorry, "route."
zelien is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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Camelback Mountain, right in Phoenix is a nice hike with a good view.
Shea is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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Third vote for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum--check out their website at http://www.desertmuseum.org/. It isn't hiking, but you can do lots of walking outdoors amid beautiful xersicaping and see all the critters of the desert. It's not a zoo but more like an arboretum with animals.

"Next door" is the Saguaro National Monument, which has a cool visitor's center with a great little film about Native Americans' connection to the saguaro cactus. There are several short--1-2mi.--trails, some of which lead to petroglyphs. It's very easy hiking, and really gorgeous out there.

Another idea is San Xavier del Bac, a rustic cathedral just south of Tucson also known as the White Dove of the Desert. It's lovely--but, it is south of Tucson about 30 min, which may eat up too much time for you.

Whatever you decide, enjoy yor trip!
E is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is well worth a half day at least and maybe more depending on your tolerance for tourists. It really isn't a just a museum but a museum/zoo/botanical garden/cultural center. Go early if you can. Since it is located pretty much in Saguaro National Park West, you have all kinds of hiking trails available as soon as you leave the museum. Send off for a map now or grab one at the NP Visitors center that just a bit up the road from the museum. Bring lots of water and a good hat for the hiking.
Beat feet out of Phoenix (sorry but, IMHO, Pheonix sucks) and get to the outskirts of Tucson ASAP.

I'd highly recommend a drive up Mt. Lemmon if you have time. Every climate that exists in the state of Arizona is represented as you go up. From Sonoran Desert to Alpine at the top. Interesting and beautiful.
peterboy is offline  
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