Green Valley–Sahuarita, Arizona
Tucson is the starting point for many wondrous day trips into Southern Arizona. You can reach the twin towns of Sahuarita and Green Valley, which share a border along the Santa Cruz River in the ecologically diverse Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, in under 30 minutes by heading south from downtown on I-19. Or drive U.S. Route 89 for a more leisurely journey.
Sahuarita, one of the fastest-growing towns in America, is home to the Rancho Sahuarita planned community with a public fishing-friendly lake surrounded by a five-acre park. Sahuarita is where Green Valley Pecan Company, the world’s largest irrigated pecan orchard, operates a well-stocked Pecan Store and presents the Sahuarita Pecan Festival every November. Also here is Titan Missile Museum, a Cold War-era missile site and National Historic Landmark that offers one-of-a-kind tours.
The towns of Sahuarita and Green Valley are near some of the best road cycling and mountain biking routes in Arizona. The Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocate Committee’s website has more about this area’s wide-open roads and great climbing trails. The Town of Sahuarita Hiking Club leads treks to some of this area's top trails, including the popular West Desert Trails preserve (to access this area, first register for a free permit on wdtrails.com.)
Green Valley is a bustling retirement community and a popular mild winter retreat. Golfers often get that legendary "Green Valley grin" while enjoying four public courses: Haven Public Golf Club, Quail Creek Country Club, San Ignacio Golf Club, and Torres Blancas Golf Club. The former Canoa Ranch Golf Course is being transformed into a natural open-space park.
Green Valley’s Community Performance & Art Center stages more than 100 concerts and live theater productions with a variety of art exhibitions annually, while the Green Valley Recreation Center presents a diverse performing arts series and hosts seasonal Farmers Markets.
Just south of Green Valley, Historic Canoa Ranch offers tours and environmental education programs like bird walks and stargazing. Southeast of Green Valley, extraordinary nature trails begin at Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains, a renowned birding hotspot that attracts seasonal migrators and dozens of hummingbird species. Adjacent to Madera Canyon on Mt. Hopkins is the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory. A visitor center at the mountain base offers astronomy exhibits, tours, and a picnic area. Just beyond the visitor center, the Elephant Head mountain bike route awaits a rugged 10-mile challenge.
More information: Green Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center; Town of Sahuarita.
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