5 days around Tuscon

Old Feb 7, 15, 12:05 pm
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5 days around Tuscon

I'm going to be in Phoenix for work at the end of this month and I'm taking 5 days off to drive down to Tuscon and explore. I've been to Phoenix and Scottsdale before and seen a lot of stuff around there (Taliesin West, Camelback, South Mountain, Apache Trail, etc.) so skipping that this time. Anyway, here's a list I drew up of what looks interesting. Most of the stuff is around Tuscon except for the Sonoran Desert Monument which is closer to Phoenix and then Organ Pipe is a bit out of the way.

Is this too ambitious for 5 days? Generally I like to spend more time in one place instead of doing a whirlwind tour. My trip starts at 6pm on a Fri night at PHX and ends late on Wed night back at PHX. I was thinking of driving from Phoenix to the Sonoran Desert National Monument my first night, spending the next day there, then driving to Ajo to stay near Organ Pipe where I will spend the next day, and then spending 3 days in Tuscon. Or should I compress the time in Sonoran Desert and Organ Pipe and spend more time in Tuscon?

I like to hike and this will mostly be an outdoors trip. Not that interested in art galleries or things like that but reasonably priced restaurant recommendations (mostly vegetarian here) are welcome. I will be traveling alone.


North of TUS/SW of PHX
Sonoran Desert National Monument

East of TUS
Sabino Canyon
Mt Lemmon
Saguaro National Park East / Rincon Peak

West of TUS
Saguaro National Park West
Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
Tucson Mountain Park

South of TUS
San Xavier del Bac Mission (do on way from Organ Pipe to TUS)
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument


Not sure whether to go / probably too much
Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
Coronado National Forest


Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 7, 15, 12:26 pm
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Hi,

Sabino canyon and the Sonoran Desert museum are worth a visit.

San Xavier Mission is worth a stop.

Other potential areas to consider;

Kartchner Caverns
Tombstone
Pima Air and Space museum (http://www.pimaair.org/) -this is just outside Tucson.

Regards

TBS
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Old Feb 7, 15, 12:27 pm
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Hah, I was trying to reduce the places and now I have more to look at!
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Old Feb 7, 15, 12:45 pm
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Hi,

Sorry about adding to your choices!

Tucson and the surrounding area are beautiful. It has been a few years since I visited ( my parents rented a villa by the omni tucson national resort). We used to go to the Outback or Red Lobster so cannot recommend any good vegetarian restaurants.

A little hidden gem was the gaslight theatre ( thegaslighttheatre.com) where they serve fast food by your table and there is a show.

When I was there they did Cronan the Barbarian ( a send up of Conan the Barbarian) and the actors were very good and it was a great way to spend a few hours in the evening.

Regards

TBS
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Old Feb 7, 15, 3:10 pm
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I think you have a good list there for 5 days. I was just in Saguaro National Park East cycling the paved loop on MLK day and enjoyed it (can't beat 82 degrees in January!). Mt Lemmon has tons of hiking and is beautiful.

You might want to narrow down the Coronado NF to a specific area. It covers most of SE Arizona. Hikearizona.com and the Coronado NF websites are good resources to find trails.

You also might check out Biosphere 2 near Oracle. And the Kitt Peak observatory.

Last edited by Lost; Feb 7, 15 at 7:21 pm Reason: add links
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Old Feb 7, 15, 3:31 pm
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I would also suggest as a little bit less busy and crowded alternative to Mt Lemmon, for alpine forest hiking try Madera Canyon near Green Valley.

http://www.friendsofmaderacanyon.org/

Last edited by DeepUnderground; Feb 7, 15 at 3:37 pm
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Old Feb 7, 15, 7:21 pm
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Don't forget Tombstone and Queen Mine tour in Bisbee.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 7:31 pm
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Forget Bisbee (too kitschy). I 2nd Pima - at least 1/2 of a day.

We drove down to Mexico and walked across the border. The scene is pretty lewd (pharma, girls for sale) but worth a look at the other side...
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Old Feb 8, 15, 8:20 am
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The folks over on Tripadvisor say I should probably skip the Sonoran Desert NM. I think I will spend my first night driving from PHX to Ajo and overnight there. See Organ Pipe the next day, then drive to TUS, and spend the next 4 nights there. Looks like I already have enough to see in TUS with my list and some of the other recommendations here. I'll probably skip Bisbee.

Thanks guys!
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Old Feb 8, 15, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by abcx View Post
The folks over on Tripadvisor say I should probably skip the Sonoran Desert NM...

Thanks guys!
The Sonoran Desert Museum is great, especially if you have a family in tow.

Other threads you might consider:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/...ggestions.html

and

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/...any-input.html
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Old Feb 8, 15, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Wilbur View Post
The Sonoran Desert Museum is great, especially if you have a family in tow.

Other threads you might consider:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/...ggestions.html

and

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/...any-input.html


Thanks, yes, I will go to the Sonoran Desert Museum. I meant I would skip the National Monument of the same name (which is closer to PHX than to TUS) as that doesn't seem to rate very highly.
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Old Feb 8, 15, 12:51 pm
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Are there any hotels in Ajo? That's a REALLY small town in quite literally the middle of nowhere.

I would just drive Phoenix to Tucson and get setteled in a hotel there, then make Organ Pipe a day trip from Tucson the next day.

Phoenix to Tucson is only two hours, so it would give you tine to do some other things on your itinerary in Tucson that afternoon.
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Old Feb 8, 15, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
Are there any hotels in Ajo? That's a REALLY small town.

I would just drive Phoenix to Tucson and get setteled in a hotel there, then make Organ Pipe a day trip from Tucson the next day.

Phoenix to Tucson is only two hours, so it would give you tine to do some other things on your itinerary in Tucson that afternoon.
There are a couple of motels in Ajo according to Tripadvisor so I was going to stay at one of them - most likely La Siesta. I leave Phoenix in the evening (6 pm) so no time to see things in Tucson or anywhere else that day.

Someone on TA says the highway from Ajo to Tucson, the one the goes through the Indian reservation, is unsafe?
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Old Feb 8, 15, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by abcx View Post
There are a couple of motels in Ajo according to Tripadvisor so I was going to stay at one of them - most likely La Siesta. I leave Phoenix in the evening (6 pm) so no time to see things in Tucson or anywhere else that day.

Someone on TA says the highway from Ajo to Tucson, the one the goes through the Indian reservation, is unsafe?
All the rural roads in AZ are unsafe at night... our drivers aren't the smartest That and that area is a fairly big drug and human trafficking corridor.

It's not correct to say that it's unsafe BECAUSE of the rez, though.
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Old Feb 8, 15, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
All the rural roads in AZ are unsafe at night... our drivers aren't the smartest That and that area is a fairly big drug and human trafficking corridor.

It's not correct to say that it's unsafe BECAUSE of the rez, though.
So I should not be on rural roads outside of TUS after dark?
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