Diverse Sabino Canyon

A glimpse into Sabino Canyon

A glimpse into Sabino Canyon

Pam Wakefield

Sabino Canyon, one of the most unique Southwest desert canyons, is close enough to SaddleBrooke to be explored and enjoyed on a regular basis by hikers, photographers, bird and plant watchers and non-hikers. If you need a location to entertain guests this winter, Sabino Canyon has something for everyone. Located in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest and visited by over a million people each year, this desert oasis is home to abundant wildlife such as white tail deer, javelinas, bobcats and various reptiles. The canyon also provides a wonderful display of beautiful fauna including Saguaro, Prickly Pear and Cholla cacti and groves of Ocotillo, as well as a plethora of colorful desert wildflowers during the spring, especially after a good season of rain. During the rainy summer and winter seasons, water gathers in rocky outcroppings in the canyon, making Seven Falls and Hutch’s Pool a hiker’s and photographer’s mecca.

According to archaeologists, the canyon has been inhabited by the Clovis culture, the Cochise and most recently by the Hohokam people, who peaked around 1100 AD. In 1905 the Forest Service began overseeing this canyon, and during the Great Depression the WPA (Works Progress Administration) built bridges over creeks in the canyon and Sabino Dam was constructed.

Hiking ranges from easy to challenging and visitors can take trams to various Sabino Canyon trailheads, as well as Bear Canyon trailheads, or just ride and enjoy the scenery. Check with Sabino Canyon Tours for information on tram tour times, including evening rides three nights per month during several months.

Heidi Schewel, Public Affairs Officer for the Coronado National Forest Service, will be the guest speaker for the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club’s program on Wednesday, February 17, at the HOA 1 Activity Center at 3:00 p.m. Heidi, who grew up hiking, horseback riding, picnicking and camping in Sabino Canyon, states that she is living out her childhood dream of working for the Forest Service (twenty-five years). Schewel holds a B.S. in agriculture and horticulture and an M.S. in agriculture from the University of Arizona.

Schewel will provide information on Sabino Canyon’s history, the ecology associated with the canyon, fires and floods in the canyon and movies filmed in the canyon. She will also expound upon the myriad of recreational activities in Sabino Canyon including hiking, picnicking, cycling and bird/plant/nature watching. Finally, Schewel will discuss various volunteer opportunities available for those interested in giving back to this beautiful oasis.

This program is open to all SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents. After the talk, attendees are invited to a social hour in the Agave Lounge at HOA 1 Clubhouse.

For more information on hiking club programs, please contact Mary Croft at 651-270-1660 or [email protected].