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Adventure Tours

Baja's Frontier Tours. This operator explores the natural and cultural history of Tucson and the greater Southwest by van and motorcoach. Tours range from one-day trips exploring Mexican cultural traditions in Southern Arizona, such as Day of the Dead and Barrio Christmas ($99), to a six-day tour of the Hopi Mesas ($1,895). 520/887–2340. www.bajasfrontiertours.com.

Southwest Trekking. This outfitter arranges top-notch guided mountain biking, hiking, and camping outings. Custom-designed tours, based on the groups' interests and abilities, might consist of a 4-hour bike ride ($150, bicycles provided) or an all-day hike among the spectacular boulders of the Cochise Stronghold ($250, includes breakfast in Tombstone). Tucson, AZ, 85732. 520/296–9661. www.swtrekking.com. From $150.

Ballooning

Balloon America. Passengers can soar above Sabino Canyon and the Santa Catalinas in a hot-air balloon. Two-hour tours ($349 includes in-flight photos and a champagne toast) depart from the east side of Tucson, October through May. 1501 N. Houghton Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85749. 520/299–7744. www.balloonrideusa.com.

Fleur de Tucson Balloon Tours. Operating out of the Northwest Tucson from October through April, this company flies over the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park West. Flights cost $275 and include photos from your flight as well as a continental champagne brunch after you arrive back on the ground. Meet your balloon guide at a parking lot near Ina Road and Interstate 10. Tucson, AZ. 520/403–8547. www.fleurdetucson.net.

Bicycling

Tucson is one of America's top bicycling cities and has well-maintained bikeways, routes, lanes, and paths all over the city. Scenic-loop roads in both sections of Saguaro National Park are rewarding rides for all levels of cyclists, though the West district’s road is unpaved.

GABA. Most bike stores in Tucson carry the monthly newsletter of the Tucson chapter of GABA, which lists rated group rides, local bike resources, and more. www.bikegaba.org.

Pima Association of Governments. You can pick up a map of Tucson-area bike routes here. 177 N. Church Ave., Suite 405, Downtown, Tucson, AZ, 85701. 520/792–1093. www.pagnet.org.

Equipment and Rentals

Cycle Tucson. This company rents road, mountain, and hybrid bikes, and delivers them to your door. 7049 E. Tanque Verde Rd, Suite 126, Foothills, Tucson, AZ, 85715. 520/245–6011. www.cycletucson.com.

Fair Wheel Bikes. Mountain bikes and road bikes can be rented by the day or week here. The company also organizes group rides of varying difficulty. 1110 E. 6th St., University, Tucson, AZ, 85719. 520/884–9018. fairwheelbikes.com.

Bird-Watching

The naturalist and illustrator Roger Tory Peterson (1908–96) considered Tucson one of the country's top birding spots, and avid "life listers"—birders who keep a list of all the birds they've sighted and identified—soon see why. In the early morning and early evening Sabino Canyon is alive with cactus and canyon wrens, hawks, and quail. Spring and summer, when species of migrants come in from Mexico, are great hummingbird seasons. In the nearby Santa Rita Mountains and Madera Canyon you can see elegant trogons nesting in early spring. The area also supports species usually found only in higher elevations.

Tucson Audubon Society and Nature Shop. You can get the latest birding word on the local Audubon Society's 24-hour line; sightings of rare or interesting birds in the area are recorded regularly. The society's shop organizes free local outings for birders and carries field guides, bird feeders, binoculars, and natural-history books. 300 E. University Blvd., Suite 120, University, Tucson, AZ, 85705. 520/629–0510. www.tucsonaudubon.org.

Wild Bird Store. This shop is an excellent resource for birding information, feeders, books, and trail guides. Free bird walks are offered most Sundays. 3160 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Central, Tucson, AZ, 85716. 520/322–9466. www.wildbirdsonline.com.

Tours

Several companies operate birding tours in the Tucson area.

Borderland Tours. Bird-watching tours throughout the state and internationally are led by this company, whose owner, Richard Taylor, has written several photo field guides, including Birds of Southeastern Arizona. Seven-day tours of Southeastern Arizona cost $2,195, including all meals, accommodations, and transportation from Tucson. 2550 W. Calle Padilla, Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85745. 520/882–7650. www.borderland-tours.com.

Wings. This elite Tucson-based company leads ornithological expeditions worldwide and locally. Its Southern Arizona tours—sighting owls, hawks, warblers, hummingbirds, and more—have a maximum group size of seven and range from 8 days ($2,350) to 10 days ($3,100). 520/320–9868 or 866/547–9868. www.wingsbirds.com.

Golf

Tee off after 1 pm at many of Tucson's courses, and you can shave off nearly half the greens fee. The city’s public courses also have lower fees Monday through Thursday. All Tucson area courses dramatically reduce their greens fees in summer.

Resources

Golf Stop Inc.. This shop, owned and run by two LPGA pros, can fit you with pro shop brands and custom clubs, repair your old irons, or give you lessons. 6155 E. Broadway, Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85711. 520/790–0941. www.golfstopinc.biz.

Tucson Parks and Recreation Department. To reserve a tee time at one of the city's municipal courses, call the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department or reserve online up to six days in advance. 520/791–4653 general golf information; 520/791–4336 automated tee-time reservations. www.tucsoncitygolf.com.

Municipal Courses

One of Tucson's best-kept secrets is that the city's five low-priced municipal courses are maintained to standards usually found only at the best country clubs. All five have pro shops, driving ranges and putting greens, snack bars, and rental clubs.

Dell Urich Golf Course. Adjacent to Randolph Golf Course and formerly known as Randolph South, Dell Urich is a pretty 18-hole in-town course with tall trees and dramatic elevation changes. The mountain views are beautiful from every hole. 600 S. Alvernon Way, Central, Tucson, AZ, 85711. 520/791–4161. www.tucsoncitygolf.com/dell-urich-golf-course.html. $25 for 9 holes, $50 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 6633 yards, par 70. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, snack bar.

El Rio Golf Course. This is a par-70 course with 18 holes of tight fairways, small greens, and two lakes on fairly flat terrain west of downtown. You'll have nice views of the nearby Tucson Mountains. 1400 W. Speedway Blvd., Westside, Tucson, AZ, 85745. 520/791–4229. www.tucsoncitygolf.com/el-rio-golf-course.html. $19 for 9 holes, $38 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 6936 yards, par 70. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, lessons, snack bar.

Fred Enke Golf Course. This hilly, semi-arid (less grass and more native vegetation) 18-hole course is in the southeastern part of town. 8251 E. Irvington, Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85730. 520/791–2539. www.tucsoncitygolf.com/fred-enke-golf-course.html. $17 for 9 holes, $38 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 6567 yards, par 72. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, lessons, snack bar.

Randolph Park Golf Course–North Course. This scenic 18-hole course has hosted the LPGA Tour for many years and is the flagship of Tucson's municipal courses. It's also the longest of Tucson's municipal courses, with great mountain views and tall trees lining the fairways. 600 S. Alvernon Way, Central, Tucson, AZ, 85711. 520/791–4161. www.tucsoncitygolf.com/randolph-north-golf-course.html. $25 for 9 holes, $50 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 6863 yards, par 72. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, snack bar.

Silverbell Golf Course. With spacious fairways and ample greens, this course has an 18-hole layout along the Santa Cruz River northwest of town. Two large lakes create water hazards on five holes. Greens fee includes a cart here. 3600 N. Silverbell Rd., Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85745. 520/791–5235. www.tucsoncitygolf.com/silverbell-golf-course.html. $21 for 9 holes, $42 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 6936 yards, par 70. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, snack bar.

Public Courses

Arizona National Golf Club. This is a gorgeous 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed course at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains on the northeastern edge of town. You won't need to go to Saguaro National Park after playing here—the saguaro-studded hillsides around the course are as magnificent and plentiful. 9777 E. Sabino Greens Dr., Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85749. 520/749–4089. www.arizonanationalgolfclub.com. $105. 18 holes, 6776 yards, par 71. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Dorado Golf Course. With an 18-hole, par-62 executive course, Dorado Golf Course is good for those who want to play just a few short rounds. There's a putting green but no driving range or lessons. 6601 E. Speedway Blvd., Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85711. 520/885–6751. $22 for 9 holes, $32 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 3751 yards, par 62. Facilities: Putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, snack bar.

Esplendor Resort & Country Club. South of Tucson, this reasonably priced Robert Trent Jones Sr.–designed course, with loads of shade trees and bent grass greens, is one of Arizona's lesser-known gems. The restaurant and country club facilities are comparable to many higher-priced resorts. At a higher elevation, it's also cooler than Tucson, making for a great golf getaway in summer. 1069 Camino Carampi, Rio Rico, AZ, 85648. 800/288–4746 or 520/281–8567. www.esplendor-resort.com. $48. 18 holes, 6135 yards, par 72. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

San Ignacio Golf Club. Designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills, San Ignacio is a challenging 18-hole desert target course, which puts a premium on accuracy. Set in Green Valley, a 40-minute drive south of Tucson, it has nice mountain views and low greens fees. 4201 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley, AZ, 85614. 520/648–3469. www.sanignaciogolf.com. $25 for 9 holes, $59 for 18 holes. 18 holes, 5865 yards, par 71. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar.

Tubac Golf Resort. A par-71 course 45 minutes south of Tucson, Tubac Golf Resort will look familiar to you if you've seen the movie Tin Cup. The rolling hills and pastoral land surrounding these 27 holes are a change from desert golf environs. This resort has an on-site pro shop, excellent restaurant, and a cantina. 1 Ave. De Otero Rd., Tubac, AZ, 85646. 520/398–2211. www.tubacgolfresort.com. $45 for 9 holes, $99 for 18 holes. 27 holes. 6375 yards, par 71. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Resort Courses

Avid golfers check into one of Tucson's many tony resorts and head straight for the links. The resort courses listed here are open to the public, but resort guests pay slightly lower greens fees. All have complete country-club facilities. Those who don't mind getting up early to beat the heat will find some excellent golf packages at these places in summer.

Hilton Tucson El Conquistador. This resort has 45 holes of golf tucked into the Santa Catalina Foothills. All three courses—one par-72, one par-71, and the 9-hole Pusch Ridge course—have panoramic views of the city. You'll pay less to play here, without sacrificing any of the resort or clubhouse amenities. 10555 N. La Canada Dr., Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85737. 520/544–1800. www.hiltonelconquistador.com. $29 for 9 holes, $89 for 18 holes. Cañada Course: 18 holes, 6713 yards, par 72; El Conquistador Course: 18 holes, 6801 yards, par 71; Pusch Ridge Course: 9 holes, 2788 yards, par 35. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Lodge at Ventana Canyon. There are two beautiful 18-hole Tom Fazio–designed courses here. The signature hole, No. 3 on the mountain course, is a favorite of golf photographers for its panoramic views and majestic saguaros. Guests staying up the road at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort have privileges here. 6200 N. Clubhouse Ln., Foothills, Tucson, AZ, 85750. 520/577–1400 or 800/828–5701. www.thelodgeatventanacanyon.com. $159. Canyon Course: 18 holes, 6819 yards, par 72; Mountain Course: 18 holes, 6898 yards, par 72. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Omni Tucson National Golf Resort. Cohost of an annual PGA winter open, this resort offers 36 holes: the Catalina Course, designed by Robert Van Hagge and Bruce Devlin, a traditional par-73 course with eight lakes and gorgeous, long par 4s; and the Sonoran Course, a par-70 desert course. After a day on the links, the Legends restaurant is a great place to watch the sun set on the mountains. 2727 W. Club Dr., Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85742. 520/297–2271. www.tucsonnational.com. $190. Catalina Course: 18 holes, 6610 yards, par 7; Sonoran Course: 18 holes, 6065 yards, par 70. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Starr Pass Golf Resort. With 27 magnificent holes in the Tucson Mountains, Starr Pass was developed as a Tournament Player's Course. Managed by Arnold Palmer, it's become a favorite of visiting pros; playing its No. 15 signature hole has been likened to threading a moving needle. Guests at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort have privileges (and pay lower green fees) here. 3645 W. Starr Pass Blvd., Westside, Tucson, AZ, 85701. 520/670–0406. www.jwmarriottstarrpass.com. $100 for 9 holes, $179 for 18 holes. 27 holes, 6731 yards, Par 71. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Hiking

For hiking inside Tucson’s city limits, you can test your skills climbing up "A" Mountain (Sentinel Peak), a moderately easy trail with excellent views, but there are also hundreds of other trails in the immediate Tucson area. The Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park East and West beckon hikers with waterfalls, birds, critters, and huge saguaro cacti.

Bear Canyon Trail. Also known as Seven Falls Trail, this route in Sabino Canyon is a three- to four-hour, 7.8-mile round-trip that is moderately easy and fun, crossing the stream several times on the way up the canyon.

Be sure to bring plenty of water. Kids enjoy the boulder-hopping, and all hikers are rewarded with pools and waterfalls as well as views at the top. The trailhead can be reached from the parking area by either taking a five-minute Bear Canyon Tram ride or walking the 1.8-mile tram route. Moderate. Sabino Canyon Rd. at Sunrise Dr., Foothills, Tucson, AZ, 85750. 520/749–2861. www.fs.usda.gov/coronado.

Catalina State Park. This park is crisscrossed by hiking trails. One of them, the moderately easy, two-hour, 5.5-mile round-trip Romero Canyon Trail leads to Romero Pools, a series of natural tinajas, or stone "jars," filled with water much of the year. The trailhead is on the park's entrance road, past the restrooms on the right side. Moderate. 11570 N. Oracle Rd., Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85737. 520/628–5798. www.pr.state.az.us/parks/cata/index.html.

Resources

Sierra Club. The Club's local chapter, The Rincon Group, welcomes out-of-towners on weekend hikes, ranging in level of difficulty. 738 N. 5th Ave., University, Tucson, AZ, 85705. 520/620–6401. www.arizona.sierraclub.org/rincon.

Summit Hut. For hiking on your own, this store has an excellent collection of hiking reference materials, supplies, and a friendly staff who will help you plan your trip. Packs, tents, bags, and climbing shoes can be rented and purchased here. The other store branch is located in the northwest at 7745 N. Oracle Road. 5045 E. Speedway Blvd., Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85712. 520/325–1554. www.summithut.com.

Rodeo

Tucson Rodeo. In late February, Tucson hosts Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, the largest annual winter rodeo in the United States, a nine-day extravaganza with more than 600 events and a crowd of more than 44,000 spectators a day at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds.

The rodeo kicks off with a 2-mile parade of Western and fancy-dress Mexican charros, wagons, stagecoaches, and horse-drawn floats; it's touted as the largest nonmotorized parade in the world. Local schoolkids especially love the celebration—they get a two-day holiday from school. Daily seats at the rodeo vary from $12 to $26. 4823 S. 6th Ave., South, Tucson, AZ, 85714. 520/741–2233. www.tucsonrodeo.com.

Horseback Riding

Bandit Outfitters. This friendly stable leads riders on one-hour, two-hour, sunset, and cowboy cookout rides near Saguaro National Park East and through Colossal Cave Park. 16600 Colossal Cave Rd., Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85641. 520/647–3450. www.banditoutfitters.com.

Cocoraque Ranch. Wranglers lead riders through their working cattle ranch and along trails into Saguaro National Park West. Cattle drives also can be arranged. 6255 N. Diamond Hills Ln., Westside, Tucson, AZ, 85743. 520/682–8594. www.cocoraque.com.

Pantano Riding Stables. This is a reliable operator of one-hour or longer rides on the far east side of town and into Saguaro National Park East. 4450 S. Houghton Rd., Eastside, Tucson, AZ, 85748. 520/298–8980. www.horsingaroundarizona.com.

Pusch Ridge Stables. Adjacent to Catalina State Park, Pusch Ridge Stables takes riders along the beautiful western side of the Santa Catalina Mountains on one-hour, two-hour and sunset rides. You can also sign up for a cowboy-style breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the trail or at the ranch. 13700 N. Oracle Rd., Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85737. 520/825–1664. www.puschridgestables.com.

Hiking

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. You can tread the same road as the conquistadors: the first 4.5 miles of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail from Tumacácori to Tubac were dedicated in 1992. You'll have to cross the Santa Cruz River—which is usually low—three times to complete the hike, and the path is rather sandy, but it's a pleasant journey along the tree-shaded banks of the river. Moderate. 415/623–2344. www.nps.gov/juba.