Rillito Valley - Riparian Woodland Site #1

The Woodland here in Fort Lowell Park mirrors how the banks of Rillito Creek might have looked over 100 years ago when the land was first settled by Anglos.

One-half mile to the northwest lies the confluence, or coming together, of the Tanque Verde and Pantano washes (now under the Craycroft Road bridge). There a single waterway with a new name is formed, the Rillito, or Little River. During the 1800s the Little River, fed by the melting snows and springs of the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, flowed much of the year. It was a clear meandering stream. There were no steep, cliff-like banks in those days as there are now. The bottomlands, from the Rincon Mountains to the Santa Cruz River, were filled with a dense forest of mesquite trees - a mesquite bosque. Here was a riverine oasis in the midst of the dry Sonoran Desert.