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Walk in the Woods
This is part of a 1200-mile historic trail from Nogales to San Francisco. In 1775, Juan Bautista, a commanding officer in the Spanish army, loaded up 50 men and blazed a trail to San Francisco. It sounds like fun to me! This is the Tumacacori to Tubac 4.5 mile section of the trail that parallels the riparian Santa Cruz River. You can hike the trail in either direction, but I prefer the southern trailhead just north of the Tumacacori Mission because parking is easier. If you prefer shopping, the northern trailhead located in Tubac at the south end of the picnic area across the street from the presidio information center is our best bet.
From the Mission trailhead, the trail goes around the northern fence line of the mission to what once was a dirt road to the river. Just before the river, the trail turns left through the mesquite forest, then through the river's dry floodway to the first river crossing. Fortunately, there is a small footbridge across the 6-foot wide river. A note of caution here; THE WATER IS POLLUTED! It comes out of Nogales Mexico, and is marginally treated sewage. I'm a veterinarian and would not even let my golden retriever wade in it. The trail wanders through cottonwood groves past abandoned adobe homes and an archeological site. It crosses the river again about 3 miles into the hike. Then it intersects a dirt road that goes east and west. Go west to the far end of the riverbed, and there is a gait to the rest of the trail that parallels the riverbank. The wooded trail breaks up into a park area and dips back into the riverbank behind Tubac's subdivisions. To end to the east of Tubac. Retrace your route or make it a two-vehicle hike.
The Tubac to Tumacacori section of the trail is maintained by the Anza Trail Coalition, a non-profit group. It removes the bridges during monsoon season and has reached agreements where the trail crosses private land, so be respectful. One last comment. If the water during monsoon season looks like it is flowing too fast to cross, it probably is!
The Anza rail is one of the few riparian wooded trails in southern Arizona and is excellent on a warmer day because of all the shade. It also is a bird-watching destination of world renown if you are into that.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.