Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Area Status: Open

Sabino Canyon paved trail

Sabino Canyon, one of the premier natural areas in southern Arizona, is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains at 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road, Tucson, AZ 85750.

Come to Sabino to see water in the desert. Between steep rock cliffs and unique desert vegetation you will find riparian corridors. You may even get lucky and view a Gila Monster, Bobcat, or other animals that are adapt to our 100 + degree summers and mild winters. The Sonoran desert has two rainy seasons: gentle winter rains and a dramatic summer monsoon. Due to winter's snow melt and summer's electrifying lightning storms, Sabino Creek flows almost year around.

Many local people call Sabino Canyon their second home. Visitors walk, jog, hike, wildlife viewing, photography and so much more. If you want to bicycle in, the Canyon times are limited to after 5pm.  

The canyon itself has been closed to private vehicles since 1978. However you can still visit Sabino Canyon in an emission-free, open-air Sabino Canyon Crawler or Bear Canyon shuttle. Along the 1-hour round trip route for Sabino Canyon enjoy an audio tour or get off at one of the nine shuttle stops. The Bear Canyon route is 30-minutes round trip and has three stops. Times, pricing, and tickets are available online.

The Recreation Area itself has over 30 miles of trails. Come to the Visitor Center to talk with one of our amazing volunteers or employees. Visit our bookstore for maps, gifts, and souvenirs.

Pets are not allowed in Sabino Canyon. Service Animals as defined by The Americans with Disabilities Act are authorized.

Tips for recreational drone flying.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Due to continued vandalism, the restrooms near the Visitor Center will be closed from 5:00 PM until 8 AM daily. Water remains available via the drinking fountains located on the outside of the building near the men's entrance. 
Operational Hours: The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is always open for visitors. However, the bookstore, shuttle services, and visitor center are only open daily from 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM. Information regarding the shuttle can be located at
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site, Accessible, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: Day Use: $8 per vehicle 
Weekly: $10 per vehicle  Proof of payment or a valid Coronado National Forest Annual Pass or Interagency (America The Beautiful) Pass including the Annual: Senior, Access, and Active Duty Military pass, must be displayed on the driver’s side of the vehicle dashboard.  

Additional fees for Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon Tram Tours:
Sabino Canyon:
$15 for adults 
$8 for children under 12
$8 for onboard (one-way) rides 

Bear Canyon:
$8 for adults 
$5 for children under 12 
$5 for onboard (one-way) rides 
Permit Info: Fire Permit and Backpacking Permit ARE NOT required for this area.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: No pets are allowed in Sabino Canyon. No glass containers. No camping.
Closest Towns: Tucson
Water: Drinking water is available at the Visitor Center and at some shuttle stops.
Restroom: Yes
Passes: Proof of payment or a valid Coronado National Forest Annual Pass or Interagency (America The Beautiful) Pass including the Annual: Senior, Access, and Active Duty Military pass, must be displayed on the driver’s side of the vehicle dashboard.  Other visitors should carry their day pass with them. 
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District  520-749-8700

The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center is located immediately north of the parking lot. 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.

General Information

General Notes:

If you would like information about Road Conditions on Mount Lemmon Highway, managed by Pima County, 520-547-7510.

RRM Campground Information

Spencer Canyon, Rose Canyon Lake, Whitetail, and Showers Point campgrounds are all managed by Recreation Resource Management under a special use permit with the Coronado National Forest. These sites are open from about Easter to sometime in October. For more information please call them directly. For Spencer Canyon Campground please call: 520-576-1492, for Rose Canyon Lake Campground please call: 520-576-3091 or 520-576-1477, Whitetail Campground please call: 520-576-9198, and for Showers Point Campground please call: 520-576-1325. You can reserve campsite and/or group areas at these sites at Please note the Interagency and National Forest passes do not include access to these areas.

FS Campground Information

Molino Basin and Gordon Hirabayashi Campgrounds are open from November 1st - April 30th  Weather dependent. General Hitchock Campground is open from May 1st – Oct 31st Weather Dependent. Peppersauce Campground is open year-round.

Molino Basin Campground is located near milepost 6 on the Catalina Highway. There are 37 first-come, first served campsites for $20 a night. There is one reservable group site which can be reserved through There is no drinking water available at Molino Basin Campground.

Gordon Hirabayashi Campground is located near milepost 7 on the Catalina Highway. There are 11 first-come, first served campsites. The sites are $20 a night. There is no drinking water available.

General Hitchcock Campground is located at mile post 12 along the Catalina Highway. There are 12 tent only, first- come, first served campsites. These sites are $20 a night. There is no drinking water available at this campground.

Peppersauce Campground is located 15 miles South East of the town of Oracle on Forest Road 38. There are 17 first-come, first served campsites. The individual sites are $15 a night. There is one reserveable group site. You can reserve the group site through There is drinking water available.

Educational Opportunities

The Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists can provide current information on guided nature walks, hikes, children’s programs, family activities, and school field trips.

Fees And Passes

A Standard Amenity Fee is required at certain areas on the Santa Catalina Ranger District including Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Middle Bear, Chichauhua Pine, Cypress, Inspiration Rock, Loma Linda Picnic Area, Alder, Box Elder, Marshall Gulch, and Mt. Lemmon Recreation Site. The day pass for the fee sites in the forest is $8. A week pass is $10. An annual pass is $40. The Forest also sells and accepts the $80 Inter Agency Annual Pass. You can purchase these passes at the Palisades Visitor Center, open Thursday-Monday from 8-4:30 or open every day from 8-4:30 May 1 – October 31. These passes are also sold at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center, open seven days a week from 8-4:30. You can also purchase or obtain other Inter Agency passes that work on the Forest, including the $20 Senior Annual Pass, $80 Senior Lifetime Pass, free Active Duty Military Pass, the free Disability Access Pass, and the free 4th Grade Every Kid Outdoors Pass at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.

Please note these passes do not include access to Rose Canyon Lake. The day pass for Rose Canyon Lake can be purchased on site.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Road Cycling

E-Bikes are prohibited within the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and bicycles are not permitted off the paved roadways.

Road bicycling hours: Before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

Road bicycling is prohibited on Wednesday and Saturday.

Interpretive Areas

Visitor Centers



Interpretive Site: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Accessible: Yes
Drinking water: Yes

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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