Hiking in Tucson
The best way to experience the Sonoran Desert might be to put your feet on the ground.
There is something completely magical about the mountains surrounding Tucson.
That diversity comes from what biologists have coined our “Sky Islands.” Separated by wide swaths of desert, these mountain ecosystems have isolated biomes, created by the unique mix of plants and animals that hop from one island to another. The Santa Catalinas host species from the Canadian Rockies, such as black bear and alpine fir. But just two hours south, the Santa Ritas are surrounded by the golden waves of Chihuahuan grassland. This range contains subtropical species from the Sierra Madre Occidental, including dozens of hummingbirds and the rare sighting of northern jaguar.
It all depends on water, and Tucson may be the only city where residents run outside in monsoon thunderstorms to revel in the rain. The most coveted hikes of this region have water features at their heart, like the polished granite grotto of Romero Pools or the surging waterfalls at Seven Falls and the Douglas Spring Trail.
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