Sabino Canyon, located on the northeastern edge of Tucson as part of Coronado National Forest, is one of the city’s most popular hiking destinations. This comes as no surprise given the canyon’s diverse hiking opportunities, convenient location, and gorgeous scenery, not to mention the spectacular views of Tucson’s sunsets. It is a must see for both Tucson tourists and locals!
Where is Sabino Canyon located?
Sabino Canyon is located at Sunrise & Sabino Canyon in northeast Tucson. The address is 5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd.
What are the hours?
The canyon is open from dawn until dusk, but the Visitor’s Center is only open from 8:00am to 4:30pm.
Why would I visit Sabino Canyon?
- To hike
- To trail run
- To picnic
- To enjoy the scenery on a tram tour
- To cycle
How much does it cost?
- $5 per day per vehicle
- You can purchase an annual pass for $20 at the visitor’s center. Seniors (62+ and a U.S. resident) can purchase an annual pass for just $10.00.
- The tram tour (optional) is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. Children younger than 3 are free!
Can you tell me more about the trams?
The Sabino Canyon trams offer narrated, educational 45-minute tours from 8:00am to around 4:30pm every day. Passengers can relax and enjoy the Sonoran scenery while an audio tour guide plays in the background. On average, trams depart every 30 minutes.
The trams pause at each of the nine stops on Sabino Tram Road, allowing them to drop off and pick up hikers at the various trailheads. The tram turns around at Stop #9 and heads back down to the Visitor’s Center.
Where should I park?
Sabino Canyon has two parking areas, both off of Sabino Canyon Road.
The main parking lot affords access to the Visitor’s Center, bathrooms, and the trams.
The overflow parking lot is located around a quarter of a mile north of the main parking lot at the end of a short road. This road begins as asphalt, but then transitions to dirt, so be careful of the dust if you have just washed your car!
What is the length/distance of the hike?
One of the best things about Sabino Canyon is the great variety of trails it has access to!
Sabino Tram Road: If you are planning on hiking with small children, jogging, or cycling, the Sabino Tram Road may be the trail for you. This trail is an out-and-back, 7.5-mile-long paved road with an elevation gain of 807 feet. The tram does run along this road until around 4:30pm every day so be sure to keep an eye on your kids, but the tram ($) can also give you a lift back to the entrance if you need it.
Seven Falls: This 8.5-mile-long trail is easily one of the most heavily trafficked trails in Tucson, with an elevation gain of 1105 feet. Seven Falls is a moderate, out-and-back trail that features breathtaking views and a waterfall. The trailhead is south of the Visitor’s Center, not on Sabino Tram Road.
Sabino Dam East: If you have little ones with you but would still love to splash in some water, the East Dam is a great option for you. The whole hike is 2-3 miles! Easy to navigate with small kids in tow!
Remember that Sabino Canyon is home to many smaller trails that branch off of Sabino Tram Road so don’t be intimidated if you just want to go on a quick adventure. With water, snacks, and a hat, you should be set for fun!
How much time should I allot for this hike?
A hike at Sabino Canyon can really be as long or as short as you want to make it.
Longer hikes, such as Seven Falls, may take most of the day, but there are plentiful other opportunities for quick hikes, bikes, and runs.
Can I bike the trail?
Biking is permitted (and is a popular activity) at Sabino Canyon.
Is there water to play in?
There is almost always water in the winter (on account of snow run-off from Mt. Lemmon) and after significant rain storms. The creeks especially flow during monsoon season. Water does cover the trail in some areas, so be prepared to get your feet wet.
What should I wear?
Dress for the weather. We recommend comfortable hiking shoes/boots, a hat/visor, light layers, sunscreen (lots of it), and sunglasses.
What should I bring with me?
Plenty of water, snacks or lunch, a camera, a phone, and extra sunscreen.
Are bathrooms available?
Yes. There are a total of 12 restrooms throughout the canyon. The Visitor’s Center also has a Family Restroom with a changing table.
Which days are most and least crowded?
Sabino Canyon is one of the most well-known and popular hiking spots in Tucson. If you prefer to hike without crowds, arrive early on a weekday morning.
What is the best season for visiting Sabino Canyon?
October through April is the ideal hiking season in Tucson due to cooler temperatures. If you are looking to get wet, though, late summer is the time for you.
What kinds of plants and animals might I see?
Saguaro cacti, palo verde trees, mesquite trees, barrel cacti, rattlesnakes, javelina, jackrabbits, roadrunners, mountain lions, lizards, hummingbirds, and much more!
Is outside food allowed at Sabino Canyon?
Yes. Sabino Canyon is a popular picnic destination with several built-in tables along Sabino Tram Road. Be sure to bring a way to store your trash until you return to the Visitor’s Center.
Does Sabino Canyon have a restaurant?
What restaurants are located NEAR Sabino Canyon?
Our top restaurant picks within a 6-mile radius are:
- Brewd Coffee Lounge, 4960 N. Sabino Canyon Rd. (0.9 miles away) – coffee, tea, espresso, paninis, salads, open until 2pm
- El Charro Café, 6910 E. Sunrise Dr. (1.4 miles away) – Mexican cuisine, $7-$15 lunch, $10-$20 dinner
- Piazza Gavi, 5415 N. Kolb Rd. (1.5 miles away) – Authentic Italian cuisine, artisan pizzas, $7-$10 breakfast, $7-$30 lunch/dinner
- Eclectic Café, 7053 E. Tanque Verde Rd. (4.4 miles away) – American cuisine, Mexican cuisine, café setting, $8-$16 lunch/dinner
- Frost Gelato, 7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd. (4.9 miles away) – Authentic Italian gelato
- Zona 78, 7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd (4.9 miles away) – Italian, lunch, dinner, dessert, happy hour
- Prep & Pastry, 6450 E. Grant Rd. (5.6 miles away) – Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Pastries, Coffee
- Zinburger, 6390 E. Grant Rd. (5.5 miles away) – Handcrafted burgers, fine wines, $10-$15 lunch/dinner
BABIES & KIDS
What ages would be best suited for a hike in Sabino Canyon?
Should I bring a stroller?
Yes. If you are only going to be on Sabino Tram Road, the path is paved. For longer hikes or hikes off the beaten path, a baby carrier would be a better option.
What about my other “baby” (dog, cat, etc)?
Only service animals are permitted in Sabino Canyon.
Can I have my wedding or rehearsal dinner in Sabino Canyon?
Absolutely…as long as the bridal party and guests are feeling up to a hike. ;)
Sabino Canyon is also a popular spot for engagement and wedding photos.
Is Sabino Canyon active on social media?
Sabino Canyon does not have its own social media accounts, but you can LIKE Coronado National Forest on Facebook. Use hashtag #SabinoCanyon and you’re sure to find other fans of this gorgeous hiking destination.
What else do I need to know before I go hiking in Sabino Canyon?
- Don’t forget to wear sunscreen – even on overcast days! Bring extra so that you can reapply when you need to!
- There is often water in the canyon, so be prepared for you (and your kids) to splash around. Lightweight clothes, swimsuits, and/or water shoes are a good idea.
- Always tell someone where you are going to be hiking (especially if you are hiking alone). Keep your phone handy at all times in case of an emergency.
- Bring your camera! You’re going to want to capture Sabino Canyon’s beauty.