Just a short drive away, you can escape the hustle and bustle of Phoenix, bask in beautiful mountains and warm winter sun, and rejuvenate in inspiring settings.
Take a Hike in Saguaro National Park
With 91,000 acres of wide-open spaces in the world’s most biodiverse desert, Saguaro National Park is an ideal place to reinvigorate your body and soul. Conveniently, it’s also the closest and most accessible of Arizona’s three national parks. In the park’s eastern side, the 2-mile Hope Camp and Ridgeview Trail offers panoramas of Rincon Peak, colorful wildflowers painted across hills, and a dramatic box canyon where, if you’re lucky, you can see waterfalls lacing the cliffs. In the park’s western section, saunter the half-mile Signal Hill trail to 1,000-year-old petroglyphs of animals and spirals. Visit at sunset, and you’ll be treated to vistas of golden-haloed cactuses, purple mountains and a pink horizon.
Reconnect with Nature at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Get in touch with wildlife – and your own wild side – as you encounter animals in natural habitats at this nationally recognized zoo and botanical garden. In the pine-oak woodland area, look for mountain lions slinking into caves, and listen for the howl of Mexican wolves. You’ll be charmed by prairie dogs in the grassland section and by beavers and otters in the riparian corridor. In Cat Canyon, you can stare into the captivating eyes of a bobcat or an ocelot. And the new Avian Adventures program offers the thrilling opportunity to meet hawks and owls up close, and even have a bird fly onto your glove.
Relax at Award-Winning Spas
Tucson is famous for sumptuous sanctuaries tucked among saguaro-strewn mountains. At Canyon Ranch, you can rejuvenate with a balanced energy massage or reboot your life with guidance from integrative wellness experts. At Miraval, you can enhance your emotional wellbeing through life-changing equine experiences, plus art and music therapy. In the Spa at Westward Look, stroll through the wellness garden, selecting indigenous medicinal herbs for your body scrub ritual. And at SpaWell in El Conquistador Tucson, unwind with a Himalayan salt stone massage, or fine-tune your body’s vibrations with singing bowl therapy.
Be Inspired by Mission San Xavier del Bac
The Vatican may be thousands of miles away, but just south of Tucson, you can have a spiritual experience at “the Sistine Chapel of North America.” European missionary Padre Eusebio Kino founded a mission on this site in 1692 to convert the Tohono O’odham to Catholicism. A century later, the stunning Mission San Xavier del Bac was completed. Considered the country’s finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture, the dove-white structure is striking against a turquoise sky. But the interior’s colorful, intricate statuary and frescoes – painted by Spanish and O’odham artists – are even more spellbinding.
Take a Spin on The Loop
Free yourself from the constraints of traffic and cycle The Loop – 131 miles of car-free paved trails circling the city. On this blessedly flat route, you’ll pedal under arches of mesquite trees, beside riverbeds where wildlife roams, past dozens of whimsical public art works, up to the El Rio Preserve to spot snowy egrets, and along meditative paths with majestic views of the Catalina Mountains. If you don’t own a bike, Tucson’s inexpensive TuGo bike share program makes renting easy, with 41 stations scattered around town. Or rent some wheels at one of the numerous bike shops located in this designated Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community.