READERS' PICK: A five-mile nature walk is an easy-to-find trail you can pick up right from the Visitors Center; or you can head down the paved road (on foot, bike or by tram) which crosses Sabino Creek with a number of footbridges. Although there are long stretches in the sun, near the creek you'll find plenty of refuge under shady cottonwoods, and the sound of Sabino's perennially burbling creek will soothe all your rough, urban edges. Walk as far as you like, and if you tucker out you can always weasel a ride back on the tram for a small fee. Either way, remember to carry plenty of drinking water with you at all times of the year. (See also Best Day Hike, page 112.)
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Rillito River Park, main entrance on First Avenue south of River Road. Still relatively new, and growing in popularity every year, is the Rillito River Walkway. Running alongside the Rillito (Spanish for "little river," making Rillito River redundant), the walkway offers a beautiful stroll, bike ride or place to rollerblade. A good place to pick up the path is at Children's Memorial Park, near River and Oracle roads. The paved, two-lane path stretches about eight miles east-west, and in addition to the landscaping and native vegetation in the riverbed below, there are a number of arresting manmade features along the route, from colored tile and a bridge covered with found-objets d'art, to a public restroom that looks better than most of the architecture in this town.