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Best Bet For Perennial Water
Best Day Hike
Best Deal On A Summer Cooler
Best Dog Run
Best Equipment Rentals
Best Leisurely Stroll
Best Mountain-Bike Trail
Best Place To Watch A Sunset
Best Public Landscaping
Best Quick Wilderness Escape
Best Ransomed Landscape
Best Road-Bike Route
Best Urban Garden
Best Urban Hike
Best Vanishing Riparian Area
Best Way To "Waste-Water"
Best Weekend Adventure

Best Day Hike

Mount Lemmon

READERS' PICK: Mount Lemmon (See Best Weekend Adventure.)

READERS' POLL RUNNER UP: Sabino Canyon (5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road) garners approval from every type of desert-goer. The 3.8-mile paved path is one option, offering a pleasant walk from the visitor's center over the canyon's charming stone bridges, to a rewarding view of the surrounding mountains at the top. But for the more diligent, one of Sabino's many off-trail detours will afford a less-crowded, more authentic canyon experience. Sabino is known for its lush riparian landscape and migratory bird populations. As with any hike in these parts, whether you stay on the road or head off into the wilderness, be sure to bring plenty of water. (See Best Place To Astonish Visitors.)

A REAL SCREAM: The San Pedro River is one of the last great riparian areas in southern Arizona. Because the San Pedro runs for 130 miles from the Mexican border straight into the Gila River, it serves as a natural corridor for wildlife, especially birds, making their way north or south. With more than 250 bird species sighted along its banks and surrounding environs, the San Pedro ranks as one of the best birding areas in the country. And what's good for the goose is good for the day hiker: A canopy of cottonwoods and gurgling perennial waters provide a rare retreat for parched desert denizens. If you're not inclined to trek along muddy banks, you can see a large portion of the San Pedro by riding the San Pedro Railroad, an open-car train skirting the mining rails along the river. A natural history narrative and a stop at the real ghost town of Fairbank make a great tour for the less adventurous. Call 1-520-586-2266 for more information on the train rides. And The Friends of the San Pedro River offer weekly guided hikes for all levels throughout the year. By foot, rail or feather, the San Pedro is not to be missed.

Case History

1998 Winner: Seven Falls
1996 Winner: Sabino Canyon

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