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National Heritage Area

The Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area is a natural and cultural landscape shaped by generations of people from diverse cultural origins. Tumacácori National Historical Park and other visitor experiences here embody this spirit.

Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area

This 3,300-square-mile landscape is nationally recognized for its natural, historical and multicultural heritage

The Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area of Southern Arizona encompasses the watershed of the Santa Cruz River – from Nogales and Patagonia, through Tucson, to Marana and Oro Valley – an ancient and still vital trade route, home to Arizona’s earliest civilizations and a bounty of natural and historical assets. The boundary marks an area shaped by generations of people from diverse cultures and communities with special stories to tell. The distinctive stories of these communities form the fabric of the experiences available here.

There are 10 heritage experiences, which are unique among existing National Heritage Areas, that highlight this area's varied natural beauty and cultural history:

    Distinctive stories of Southern Arizona's Santa Cruz Valley:

    • Sky Islands and Desert Seas
    • Streams in the Desert
    • Bird Habitat and Migration Routes
    • Native American Lifeways 
    • Desert Farming
    • Ranching Traditions 
    • Spanish and Mexican Frontier 
    • Mining Booms
    • U.S. Military Posts on the Mexico Border 
    • U.S.-Mexico Border Culture

     

     

    Telling America’s story

    Visitors to the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area enjoy outdoor recreation, bird-watching, astronomy, heritage site tours, and local wineries and heritage foods. Attractions like the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which parallels the Santa Cruz River,  appeal to travelers of all ages seeking a respite from bustling city life. Other attractions include: Catalina State Park, Saguaro National Park, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tubac artist colony, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, Tumacacori National Historical Park, Historic Canoa Ranch, Wild Chile Botanical Area, Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, Patagonia Lake State Park, Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains, and San Rafael State Park and Natural Area

    Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance

    National Heritage Areas (NHA) are designated by Congress as a place where natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources combine to form nationally distinctive landscapes. There are 55 NHAs in 34 states (as of March 2019). The Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance is the non-profit organization mandated by the enabling legislation to serve as the local coordinating entity for the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Area. This alliance of local governments, non-profit organizations, and businesses uniquely poised to coordinate and implement heritage-based economic and community development is an advocate for this region's valuable heritage.

    Local heritage conservation, promotion, and education projects supported by the National Heritage Area:

    • Increase heritage and nature tourism and grow tourism-related economic impact
    • Develop heritage education programs
    • Promote local foods, crafts, and other traditional products
    • Riparian restoration
    • Rehabilitation of historic buildings
    • Improve the quality of life for residents by instilling a sense of place
    • And more! 

    We invite you to visit and experience this region's heritage lodging, destinations, food traditions, and annual events:

    Jul 09

    Anza Trail Along Santa Cruz River: Tumacácori to Tubac Virtual Hike July 6, 2020 - April 6, 2021

    Hike the Anza Trail along the Santa Cruz River: Tumacácori to Tubac... Read More

    Jul 09

    Mission San Xavier del Bac: Virtual Tour July 6, 2020 - September 1, 2020

    The White Dove of the Desert rests in the Village of Wa:k in the San... Read More

    Sep 19

    Nogales Bicycle Classic September 19, 2020

    The Nogales Bicycle Classic takes place in beautiful southern Arizona... Read More

    Jul 29

    Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival July 29, 2020 - August 1, 2020

    Self-guided and guided tours, field trips, guided trips, exhibits,... Read More

    Aug 05

    Southeast Arizona Birding Festival August 5, 2020 - August 9, 2020

    The spectacular biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert and the Sky Island... Read More

    Sep 18

    Santa Cruz County Fair September 18, 2020 - September 20, 2020

    Welcome to the 105th annual Santa Cruz County Fair with three... Read More

    Sep 19

    Benson Pony Express Western Day September 19, 2020

    The City of Benson hosts Pony Express Western Day with a car show, DJ... Read More

    Oct 09

    Tucson Meet Yourself October 9, 2020 - October 11, 2020

    Come for the food and stay for the culture! Local residents gather to... Read More

    Oct 10

    Patagonia Fall Festival October 10, 2020 - October 11, 2020

    Enjoy an outdoor art festival, wine, food, special activities, music... Read More

    Oct 11

    Tumacacori Century Ride October 11, 2020

    It's October in Tucson...perfect weather for a bicycle ride,... Read More

    Oct 01

    Arizona International Film Festival October 1, 2020 - October 12, 2020

    The Arizona International Film Festival has been rescheduled to... Read More

    Nov 07

    Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival November 7, 2020

    It's a Western experience for the whole family! Enjoy music,... Read More

    Hotel Congress

    Congress St. District

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    White Stallion Ranch

    Northside District

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    Tanque Verde Ranch

    Eastside District

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    Tubac Golf Resort & Spa

    Santa Cruz County

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    Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa

    Catalina Foothills District

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    Armory Park Inn

    Tucson Convention Center District

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    El Presidio Bed & Breakfast Inn

    Presidio District

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    Barrio Bread

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    Dos Cabezas WineWorks

    Southside District

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    Hamilton Distillers - Makers of Whiskey Del Bac

    Westside District

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    Maynards Market & Kitchen

    Congress St. District

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    Sonoita Vineyards

    Santa Cruz County

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    Village of Elgin Winery

    Southside District

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    Old Town Artisans

    Presidio District

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    Tohono O'odham Nation Cultural Center & Museum

    Arizona's West Coast Region

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    Western National Parks Association

    Oro Valley District

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    Tucson Historic Train Depot

    Congress St. District

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    Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum and The Turquoise Trail

    Presidio District

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    Friends of Tucson's Birthplace: Mission Garden

    Sentinel Peak District

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    Tumacacori National Historical Park

    Santa Cruz County

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    St. Augustine Cathedral

    Tucson Convention Center District

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    Tumamoc Hill – Tucson Mountains

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    Tucson Historic Train Depot

    Congress St. District

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    Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate Historic Site Interpretive Trail

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    Old Town Artisans

    Presidio District

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    La Posta Quemada Ranch, Colossal Cave Mountain Park

    Eastside District

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    Mt. Lemmon Science Tour App

    Northside District

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    Mountain Empire (Patagonia-Sonoita-Elgin)

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