Best Recreation Area in Southern Arizona

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon, tucked at the end of Sabino Canyon Road, once sheltered a remount station for the U.S. Cavalry. But even when Tucson was only a cluster of bright lights 12 miles off, Sabino Canyon was one of the top destinations for hiking, birding, picnicking and cooling off. Sabino Creek, which runs nearly year-round, bisects lush desert and riparian areas. There is plenty of hiking, and for the less energetic, the tram runs to the top with eight stops along the way every half hour in winter, every hour in summer. Wildlife watching is great, sometimes a little too great, so keep in mind the occasional mountain lion, and remember you ain't at Disneyland. Five bucks to park; $20 gets a year-round pass.

Runners up:

2. Mount Lemmon
3. Chiricahua Mountains