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 the Sabino route riders are free to get off at one of the nine 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.

Pets are not allowed in Sabino Canyon, service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act are authorized.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: The Visitor Center hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm, seven days a week. 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 www.sabinocanyon.com.   The Sabino Canyon Tours operate under a special use permit with the Coronado National Forest and are a separate fee from the amenity fee for access to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area ($5 day or $20 annual passes available)
Permit Info: Fire Permit and Backpacking Permit ARE NOT required for this area.
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Tucson
Water: 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.
 
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.

General Information

General Notes:
  • If you would like information about Road Conditions on Mount Lemmon Highway, owned and managed by Pima County, 520-547-7510.
  • SABINO CANYON SHUTTLE TOUR COMPANY 520-749-2327
  • 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 recreation.gov. 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. General Hitchock Campground is open from May 1st – Oct 31st. 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 $10 a night. There is one reservable group site which can be reserved through www.recreation.gov. 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 $10 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 $10 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 $10 a night. There is one reserveable group site. You can reserve the group site through www.recreation.gov. There is drinking water available.

  • EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

For current information on guided nature walks, hikes, children’s programs, family activities, and school field trips, go to sabinonaturalists.org. 

  • 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 $5. A week pass is $10. An annual pass is $20. 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 $10 Senior Pass, the free Military Pass, the free Access Pass, and the free 4th Grader or Every Kid in a Park 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

Activities


Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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