Special Places

Most Popular Places

These are visitor favorites. All are within an hour’s drive from Tucson and offer scenic drives, walking/hiking, picnic sites, and more. Be aware that sometimes these places can be crowded.

Wilderness

Wilderness is designated by Congress as “an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence”. Wilderness is a repository of clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and natural areas for research and education. The Coronado National Forest’s eight wilderness areas are ideal places to view wildlife, hike, ride a horse, backpack, find solitude, and connect with nature.

Hidden Gems

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds or explore something new, consider one of these options:

Rustler Park Campground: Located at the top of the Chiricahua Mountains (elev. 8500 ft.), this low-use campground offers cool temperatures and many hiking trails. There are shade ramadas over some picnic tables and a group use area. You can make an enjoyable loop drive by arriving from the east and passing through scenic Cave Creek, then heading down the west side of the mountains on your return home (or vice versa).

Cave Creek Canyon Off-Season: Cave Creek is a world-renowned birdwatching area and is packed with birders in the spring (March through June). Come visit during the rest of the year and you’ll enjoy few crowds. This area is known as “Little Yosemite” and offers a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails.

Red Spring Single-Track Trail System: This area offers 25 miles of trails in the scenic Tumacacori Mountains just 4 miles off of Interstate-19. The trails are perfect for motorcycles, but hikers, mountain bikers, e-bikes, and equestrians are welcome. The trailhead offers plenty of parking for trailers and shaded picnic tables.

Reef Townsite and Ramsey Vista Campgrounds: These two campgrounds are located in shady pine forests high in the Huachuca Mountains (elev 7200 ft.). Enjoy vast views from Carr Canyon Road as you drive up the steep (unpaved) road. At Reef Townsite, there is a reservable group site with a large ramada and a interpretive trail where you can learn about the history of the area. Both sites offer hiking trails into Miller Peak Wilderness.

Cactus Group Ramadas: Two group sites in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area provide a perfect place to host a group picnic or special event. There are picnic tables, grills, and flush toilets at the site, and it’s a short walk into Sabino Canyon.

Gordon Hirabayashi Group Site and Horse Camp: This site, open October to April, is mid-way up Mt. Lemmon just a few miles from Tucson. There is plenty of parking available for vehicles and trailers, horse corrals, and picnic tables. This site can be reserved in advance, and is a great place to hop on the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

Areas & Activities


https://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/coronado/specialplaces