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Juan Bautista De Anza Trail
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mini location map2017-05-29
14 by photographer avatarSkyIslandHiker
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Juan Bautista De Anza Trail Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking6.50 Miles 80 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles
80 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked   none no linked trail guides
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This morning I joined a hiking friend and her husband for a change-of-pace hike on the Anza Trail along the "mighty" Santa Cruz River. After dropping a car at the Tumacacori Mission we drove back to Tubac and began our 6.5 mile mostly-one way southbound hike at the Tubac Presidio.

Nadja had initially wanted to go to Las Cienegas National Conservation Area to look for Huachuca Water Umbel, a grass-like plant on the endangered species list. However with the LCNCA closed as a result of the Sawmill Fire she thought that we might find this rare plant along the Santa Cruz River between Tubac and Tumacacori although it was a long shot.

We hit the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail around 7:00am when there was still a cool breeze. This wide riparian area, with it's huge cottonwood trees and other lush vegetation, is quite a contrast to the surrounding desert. Mesquite trees also grow abnormally large here.

One thing I noticed almost immediately was some patches of fall color in the tops of the cottonwoods, perhaps due to drought conditions.

As we hiked from Tubac to Tumacacori we were able to access flowing water in Santa Cruz River at several locations along the trail. Shortly after entering national park land the Anza Trail goes through an area of very dense tree canopy, mostly from large mesquite trees. When we got to the mission junction we took the short spur trail to the "River Access" where there were numerous birders. Once back on the Anza Trail we continued southbound, crossing Santa Gertrudis Lane, for about another mile to another lush area with flowing water but no birders.

As nice as this hike is there are two negatives. First, although this portion of the Santa Cruz River has a clear perennial flow, the stream is "reclaimed water" from the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Facility. Second, there are areas where past flooding has accumulated large quantities of trash and tires.

Although we never found any Huachuca Water Umbel, it was an enjoyable and shady morning hike nonetheless.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert !
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Various shrubs in bloom in addition to wildflowers
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