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Area Guide

Outdoor Activites

Tubac Golf Resort & Spa is surrounded by mountain ranges, lakes and jogging trails.  From mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking to some of the best bird watching in the country, the village of Tubac and the Southwest region features limitless outdoor activities.  We will even prepare a box lunch for you and your family (and/or group) for your exploration.

Bicycle Rental & Scenic Jogging Trails

The mountains, river beds, back roads and numerous scenic trails surrounding our world-class resort offer bicyclists and joggers the perfect opportunity to explore the desert.  Bicycle rental is available for our guests at guest services.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park’s primary purpose is to preserve the ruins of the oldest Spanish Presidio site in Arizona, San Ignacio de Tubac, which was established in 1752.  Featuring the Tubac Presidio Museum, Archaeological Excavation Exhibit, Otero Hall, Rojas House, hiking and equestrian trails, wildlife viewing and picnic grounds, this beautiful historic state park offers something for everyone.  For more information, visit www.azstateparks.com/TUPR.

Cave Exploration

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Southeastern Arizona is home to a stunning limestone cave.  Tour guides lead you through this fascinating underground landscape where you’ll see calcite formations, stalactites dripping like icicles and giant stalagmites reaching up from the ground.  The Discovery Center features museums exhibits, regional displays, theater, a large gift shop and educational info.  For more information visit www.azstateparks.com.

Horseback Riding

Ride the West

Here you’ll get to ride horses through spectacular the high desert terrain, and beautiful valleys of Santa Cruz County.  These trails travel through a wide variety of cactus, desert shrubs, mesquite trees, oak, woodlands and beautiful canyons.  For more information visit www.ridethewest.com.

Boating & Fishing

Patagonia Lake State Park

Southeastern Arizona holds a hidden treasure.  At Patagonia Lake you’ll find whitetail deer roaming the hills and great blue herons walking the shoreline.  This 265-acre man-made lake is brimming with crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish; trout is stocked every three weeks (Oct. – March).  For more information visit www.azstateparks.com.

Peña Blanca Lake

This man-made lake is situated on 49 acres of Peña Blanca Canyon in the foothills of Pajarito Mountain.  Created in 1957 for recreational use, the lake is a popular tourist destination and features fishing, boating, hunting, wildlife and hiking.  For more information visit http://www.fs.fed.us.

Whipple Observatory

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is the largest field installation of the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory outside Cambridge, MA. Guests of the facility can tour the working research center and observatory atop Mt. Hopkins, and after a catered lunch, you'll ride down the ten-mile road on a bicycle to the base of the mountain. For more information visit www.sao.arizona.edu.

Bird Watching & Hiking

Where to Bird-Watch & Hike

While bird-watching and hiking in southern Arizona enthusiasts must remember that elevation and climate will affect your experience.  Geologic history has created green and considerably wetter mountain ranges called “sky islands,” which are surrounded by arid desert and grasslands.  

Four distinct regions and their wildlife and plants converge in the Santa Cruz River Valley.  This is where the Rocky Mountains meet Mexico’s Sierra Madre, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts meets, and where a major flyway fills riparian woodlands with song and color during the spring.

Rainfall averages 12 inches for the area but varies widely with elevation, as do the temperatures.  This resulting mix produces one of the richest regions of bird diversity on the continent, with over 500 different species on record. 

The Juan Bautista de Anza Trail

In 1776 Spanish Captain Juan Bautista de Anza led nearly 300 people over 1,200 miles from Nogales to establish a new mission in San Francisco.  Our world-class resort is located right along the most popular section of the trail.  From Tubac to Tumacácori the trail is flat and runs 3.5 miles as it follows the Santa Cruz River.  Visitors can hike or follow the trail on horseback; bikes are allowed but discouraged.  For more information visit www.nps.gov.

Madera Canyon & Nature Trail

Madera (Spanish for ‘lumber’ or ‘wood’) Canyon was given its name because it was a major source of timber over a century ago.  But it quickly became known for its diverse wildlife and the cool relief it offered from the desert sun.  More than 240 species of birds live in this nurturing environment, with April and May being the best months to view most species.
Madera Nature Trail can be reached from a streamside route that offers a beautiful introduction to the diverse array of plant and animal life.  The trail then continues to the Roundup Picnic Area and features incredible views of Mt. Wrightson, lower Madera Canyon and the Santa Cruz Valley.  For those more adventurous, there are numerous trails that take you deeper into the Santa Rita Range all the way to the top of Mt. Wrightson.  For more information visit www.fs.fed.us.

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is one of the few remaining permanent streams and the richest riparian habitat in the region.  This serene area of open water allows birds to thrive in the desert.  For more information visit www.nature.org.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Ramsey Canyon Preserve is known as the “Hummingbird Capital of the United States.”  Fourteen species of hummers are a part of the more than 150 species of birds found in the preserve, making this peaceful environment one of the best bird-watching spots in the world.  Ramsey Canyon is also part of The Nature Conservancy’s international conservation program.  For more information visit www.nature.org.


Arizona Birds of Special Interest:

  • Common Black
  • Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Flammulated
  • Whiskered
  • Elf and Screech-Owls
  • Common Poorwill
  • Buff-collared Nightjar
  • Broad-billed
  • Blue-throated
  • Magnificent
  • Costa’s and Violet-crowned Hummingbirds
  • Elegant Trogon
  • Gila and Arizona (Strickland’s) Woodpeckers
  • Gilded Flicker
  • Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
  • Greater Pewee
  • Buff-breasted
  • Vermillion
  • Dusky-capped and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers
  • Tropical and Thick-billed Kingbirds
  • Rose-throated Becard
  • Mexican Jay and Chickadee
  • Bridled Titmouse
  • Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
  • Bendire’s and Crissal Thrashers
  • Virginia’s
  • Lucy’s
  • Grace’s and Red-faced and Olive Warblers
  • Painted Redstart
  • Hepatic Tanager
  • Varied Bunting
  • Abert’s Towhee
  • Botteri’s, Rufous-winged
  • Black-chinned and Five-striped Sparrows
  • Yellow-eyed Junco
  • Scott’s Oriol