In June of 2004, President George Bush officially recognized June to be ‘Great Outdoors Month’. Since that year, people all over America have been honoring the warm, inviting month of June to enjoy their communities, the outdoors and natural resources. This year for Great Outdoors Month, check out your local parks and discover the beauty all around you. If you live in Tucson, or will be traveling to Arizona this June, keep reading!
Sabino Canyon Recreation area, on the North side of Tucson, is a great place to explore nature. With many marked trails of varying difficulties, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts both novice and expert are sure to find a good time at Sabino Canyon. Hike up rough, rocky terrain, or stick with the beaten path. Explore dry riverbeds for signs of wildlife, but always beware of flash flood danger. Never play in riverbeds during the monsoon season, or immediately following a heavy winter rain.
Speaking of wildlife, take care not to disturb any. You may come across many species of lizards, snakes, birds and mammals during your visit to Sabino Canyon during Great Outdoors Month! You will see signs warning of possible mountain lion activity, as this area is their natural habitat. To avoid any unwanted attention, make plenty of noise as you go along. Always hike with a companion, and watch each other’s back. I have never seen a mountain lion at Sabino, but I see that warning sign every time!
The scenery is breath-taking, and the weather can be, too. Bring lots of water. Consider a Camelbac water-backpack to ensure you stay hydrated. Sunblock is a must, even in the winter. Stay safe, and enjoy all Sabino Canyon has to offer! For details on tours, parking, directions and more, visit this site.
Another fantastic spot to get active for Great Outdoors Month in Tucson is Saguaro National Park. Situated in the Rincon Mountain District, on the Southwest side of town, Saguaro National Park is home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, and is possibly the most diverse area in Arizona. Elevations fluctuate thousands of feet throughout the park, giving visitors the chance to explore many eco-systems and climates. Camping is subject to nominal fees, and campgrounds are available at numerous locations within the park.
Saguaro National Park is, for lack of a better word, huge. There are over 150 miles of trails available for all manner of hiking, whether a day trip or longer expedition. There are close to 60,000 protected acres of wilderness within the mountain district alone, and another 35,000 acres bordering this. This land is full of beautiful sights and sounds, and you will be blown away more than a time or two by what you discover along the trek. However, bear in mind the inherent danger in this vast, open space, and prepare for your journey to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable one.
For safety’s sake, hike with a companion and have a means to orient yourself, even at night. Relying on the sun or stars alone to guide you is risky business. Always tell someone where you are going, how long you plan to stay, when to expect you back, and bring enough water for double the length of time you expect to be gone. Planning a short day trip? The rules are no different. Remember, no one can look for you if they don’t know you’re missing!
The views, wildlife, and history of these two parks will keep you coming back for more, season after season. Any time of year is a great time to visit Sabino Canyon or Saguaro National Park, but why not check them out specifically for Great Outdoors Month, and start a new tradition?