Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Road View

Located on the northeast corner of Sunrise Blvd and Sabino Canyon Road at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. With soaring mountains, deep canyons, and the unique plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert found here draw over a million visitors a year to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. The wonders of the desert foothills and rocky gorges of the Santa Catalina Mountains are marvelous and accessible.

Sabino Canyon tram routes provide access to Sabino and Bear Canyons. Along both routes riders are free to get off at one of the several shuttle stops, do a little birding, have a picnic, or spend time along one of the many pools and cascades that grace Sabino Creek.  For those who just want a refresher course on its wonders, the nature trail at the visitor center offers plenty of wildlife and trailside interpretive information.

If riding the tram does not stir your sense of adventure, there are miles of hiking trails that wander throughout the area and lead deeper into the Santa Catalina backcountry.

Sabino Canyon Sustainable Recreation Concept Plan

In April 2014, a group of Forest Service resource specialists began the process of updating the 1993 Sabino Canyon Recreation Concept Plan. The Core Team, consisting of specialists in interpretive services, environmental education, and recreation planning and management, developed recommendations to guide the management of Sabino Canyon toward a desirable future. In the summer of 2014, the Forest Service invited members of the public to review and comment on the projects proposed in the Concept Plan. Public participants provided invaluable input throughout this process, in the form of survey responses, original comments and new ideas for a sustainable Sabino Canyon. The public shared over 700 individual comments on the draft Concept Plan, helping to shape the new and improved 2015 Sabino Canyon Sustainable Recreation Concept Plan. Thank you to all who participated in this process!

At a Glance

Operational Hours: The Visitor Center hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm, seven days a week.  We are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Rentals & Guides: Sabino Canyon tours offers a narrated, educational 45-minute, 3.8 mile tour into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The trams have nine stops along the tour with several restroom facilities and picnic grounds located near Sabino Creek. The tram turns around at Stop #9 and heads back down to the Visitor’s Center, at which point riders may remain on board and hike back down. Trams arrive on average every 30 minutes.   Sabino Canyon Tours’ Bear Canyon Trail tram is a non-narrated 2 mile ride that travels to the trailhead of Seven Fall. Visitors may get off the tram at any of the stops and re-board later. Trams arrive on average every hour. The Bear Canyon tram ride has 3 stops along the way for hikers to select their choice of trails.
Fees Recreation Fee:  $5.00 per day per vehicle  Tram Fee: $10.00 adults, $5.00 children 3-12 years of age.  For additional information about the shuttles Sabino Canyon Tours provide please go to   The Sabino Canyon Tours operate under a special use permit with the Coronado National Forest.
To purchase a day-use or annual pass online, visit  the Coronado Passes & Permits site.  
Permit Info: Fire Permit and Backpacking Permit ARE NOT required for this area.
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Tucson
Water: Water fountains, vending machines, and seasonal flowing streams/pool.
Restroom: 12
Passes: The Coronado Recreation passes are valid at Mt. Lemmon, Madera and Sabino Canyons.  The Day pass is $5.00.  The Annual pass is $20.00.  The Senior pass (62 yrs.+ of age and a U.S. resident) is $10.00. The Access pass (permanently disabled) is free, however, a doctor's letter must be provided.

Passes can be purchased online.  
Information Center: The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center is located immediately north of the parking lot. The staff answers questions about nearby points of interest and plants and animals common to the canyon; they also provide detailed information about hiking trails in the Canyon and elsewhere on the Santa Catalina Ranger District. Books, audio and videotapes, mementos of Sabino Canyon and Southern Arizona, and inexpensive maps of the canyon and surrounding area are offered for sale through the Public Lands Interpretive Association and the Friends of Sabino Canyon. Free brochures and handouts are also available.   While there is ample parking during the summer months, the lot can be crowded during the fall, winter and spring. The Visitor Center is fully accessible. There are hands-on exhibits and videos that may be enjoyed by the hearing and visually impaired visitors.

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