Sabino Canyon: Our Desert Oasis

Sabino Canyon awash in color in the Spring
Sabino Canyon awash in color in the Spring

Sabino Canyon is one of Southern Arizona's natural treasures. Fed by the waters of Sabino Creek and sheltered by the canyon walls, the plants and animals that inhabit the canyon offer an interesting contrast to those found in the surrounding desert. The shade and cool water attract visitors year-round. This exhibit invites you to take a virtual hike through Sabino Canyon.

Sabino Canyon is located near Tucson, Arizona, about 12 miles north-east of the University of Arizona campus and 11 miles north of Davis-Monthan Air Base. It is in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountain range. The Santa Catalinas are one of Southern Arizona's "sky islands," an isolated mountain chain rising from the desert floor. Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalinas, rising to an elevation of over 9,100 feet. The Santa Catalinas are triangular in shape and run about 20 miles on both the north-south and east-west axes.

Santa Catalinas

No one can say for certain where the name "Sabino" came from. Perhaps the canyon was named for Sabino Otero, a rancher with land 5 miles south of the canyon in the late 1800's. Others suggest it was named for the Spanish word "sabino" meaning red. Perhaps a roan colored horse once was grazing in the canyon, or someone noticed its red-colored rocks.

To navigate through Sabino Canyon: Our Desert Oasis, follow the links to the content sections found in the banner image at the top of each page or use the text links at the bottom of each page.

View two professional video productions about Sabino Canyon and the Sonoran Desert. Take a virtual tour by viewing our slideshow.

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