Best Of Tucson®

Best Outdoors 2022

Best Bike Riding 

The Chuck Huckleberry Loop Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation

3500 W. River Road

520-724-5000, webcms.pima.gov

Known as the Loop for short, the Chuck Huckleberry Loop is a paved shared-use pathway system connecting the Cañada del Oro, Rillito, Santa Cruz and Pantano River parks that makes a complete circuit of 53.9 miles. Pima County residents and visitors can join the Loop on foot, skates, bikes and horses, enjoying the “unincorporated” scenery of Pima County, Marana, Oro Valley, Tucson and South Tucson. Officially completed in January 2018, the Loop connects trailheads, parks, bike routes, businesses, schools and more throughout the greater Tucson area. 

Reader Recommended

Mount Lemmon, 10300 Ski Run Road (to Ski Valley), 520-547-7510, fs.usda.gov

Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road, 520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov


Best Biking Group/Community

BICAS

2001 N. Seventh Avenue

520-628-7950, bicas.org

Located north of Downtown Tucson, BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage) is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting bicycle education and affordable bicycle transportation and participating in creative recycling with its community. Its programming includes bicycle repair, earning a bicycle, creating art with recycled materials and youth activities.

Reader Recommended

Tuesday Night Bike Ride, tnr.bike

El Grupo Youth Cycling, 610 N. Ninth Avenue, 520-429-6138, elgrupocycling.org


Best Hike

Sabino Canyon

5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road 

520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov

Located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon is “one of the premier natural areas in southern Arizona.” Take the “moderate to difficult” Bear Canyon Trail toward Seven Falls or the Bajada Loop for an easy stroll. For a more challenging and steep climb with switchbacks, park visitors can take the Blacketts Ridge Trail. Sabino Canyon has paved roadways that are wheelchair accessible and bike friendly. There are opportunities for wildlife sightings, but be respectful, because you just might see a rattlesnake. 

Reader Recommended

Tumamoc Hill, Tumamoc Hill Road, 520-621-6945, tumamoc.arizona.edu

Catalina State Park, 11570 N. Oracle Road, 520-628-5798, azstateparks.com


Best Backpacking Trail

Arizona Trail

738 N. Fifth Avenue

602-252-4794, aztrail.org

The Arizona National Scenic Trail spans 800 miles from Arizona to Mexico to Utah. It is a diverse adventure for backpackers, connecting picturesque mountains, canyons and deserts while showcasing the Southwest United States’ stunning wildlife and historic, cultural sites along the way.

Reader Recommended

Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road, 520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov

Aravaipa Canyon, 711 14th Avenue, 928-348-4400, blm.gov


Best Campground

Patagonia Lake State Park

400 Patagonia Lake Road

520-287-6965, azstateparks.com

Established in 1975, Patagonia Lake State Park is a hidden gem in southeastern Arizona. Its campgrounds overlook the lake with opportunities for waterskiing, fishing, picnicking and hiking. The wildlife in the area ranges from whitetail deer to catfish and great blue herons, making for a scenic experience.

Reader Recommended

Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains, 520-281-2296, fs.usda.gov

Catalina State Park, 11570 N. Oracle Road, 520-628-5798, azstateparks.com


Best Dog Park

Gene C. Reid Park

900 S. Randolph Way

520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov

Miko’s Corner Playground at Gene C. Reid Park is a blast for canine companions. There are 2 acres of land divided for big and small dogs to explore, with dog-friendly potable water fountains, scooper dispensers and a ramada with tables. The park is named in honor of a Tucson Police Department police dog who lost its life in the line of duty.

Reader Recommended

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road, 520-724-5000, webcms.pima.gov

Morris K. Udall Park, 7290 E. Tanque Verde Road, 520-791-4877, tucsonaz.gov


Best Public Garden

Tucson Botanical Gardens

2550 N. Alvernon Way

520-326-9686, tucsonbotanical.org

No matter what our unfortunate out-of-state relatives say, we know the desert is green. Bring them to Tucson Botanical Gardens and prove it to them. A true haven of peace in the middle of our bustling city, you can sit here in the shade of one of the many mature trees and enjoy the well-cultivated foliage. Look for specialty gardens such as the cactus and succulent gardens, the barrio garden and the herb garden, among others. Plus, butterflies, orchids, lunch and shopping. Then learn to be a gourmet chef at the cooking classes. Keep an eye on their events calendar because there is always something going on.

Reader Recommended

Tohono Chul, 7366 N Paseo Del Norte, 520-742-6455, tohonochul.org

Reid Park Cele Peterson Rose Garden, East 22nd Street and South Country Club Road, 520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov


Best Day Trip 

Mount Lemmon

10300 Ski Run Road (to Ski Valley)

520-547-7510, fs.usda.gov

One of Coronado National Forest’s sky islands, Mount Lemmon is on top of locals’ lists who want to escape the desert heat. Known for its cooler temperatures of at least 20 degrees, Mount Lemmon’s peak at 9,171 feet is the highest point of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Open year-round, Mount Lemmon is a place for year-round hiking and seasonal skiing (weather permitting), biking trails and over 2,000 rock climbing routes. Rose Canyon Lake also offers a peaceful area for fishing.  Fear not if you forget to pack a lunch, the Lemmon has restaurants in Ski Valley and Summerhaven that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy the scenic hour-drive and feel the shift in temperature as you drive up Tucson’s favorite mountain. 

Reader Recommended

Bisbee, 278 N. Dart Road, 520-590-0432, discoverbisbee.com

Tubac, 1 Burruel Street, 520-398-2704, tubacaz.com


Best Bike Shop

Ajo Bikes

1301 E. Ajo Way

520-294-1434, ajobikes.com

Locally owned and operated, Ajo Bikes provides for all of its riders’ cycling needs. It carries a large selection, including recumbent trikes, and has a staff able to service any make of bike. The shop prides itself in supplying top products at unbeatable prices.

Reader Recommended

BICAS, 2001 N. Seventh Avenue, 520-628-7950, bicas.org

Sabino Cycle, 7045 E. Tanque Verde Road, 520-885-3666, sabinocycles.com


Best Outdoor Recreation/Sporting Goods Store

Summit Hut

5251 E. Speedway Boulevard

520-325-1554, summithut.com

For outdoor experiences of any sort, Summit Hut has what you need. The sporting goods store has a massive selection of reasonably priced gear for men, women and kids, ranging from hiking and climbing to camping.

Reader Recommended

Play It Again Sports, 4750 E. Speedway Boulevard, 520-795-0363, playitagainsports.com


Best Park

Reid Park

900 S. Randolph Way

520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov

There is much to do at Reid Park — horseshoe pitching complex, ponds with ducks to feed, playgrounds for kids of all ages, picnic pavilions, walking/running/cycling paths and a zoo. The zoo features more than 500 animals. 

Reader Recommended

Agua Caliente Park, 12325 E. Roger Road, 520-724-5000, pima.gov

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road, 520-724-5000, https://bit.ly/BrandiFentonPark


Best Golf Course

Starr Pass Golf Club

3645 W. Starr Pass Boulevard

520-791-6270, marriott.com

Marriott’s Starr Pass Golf Club lies against the backdrop of the bright Arizona desert and picturesque mountains. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the resort features three nine-hole courses: the Coyote Course, Rattler Course and Roadrunner Course.

Reader Recommended

La Paloma Country Club, 3660 E. Sunrise Drive, 520-299-1500, lapalomacc.com

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive, 520-299-2020, loewshotels.com

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