Visit to UA and Hiking Bear Canyon

Tucson, AZ

We really enjoy riding our bicycles but consider ourselves to be “Florida bikers.”  In other words, we like to ride over flat terrain.  The city of Tucson is very flat (while surrounded by mountains) so one day this week we headed out to visit the campus of the University of Arizona, about nine miles to the north of our RV park.  Half of the ride is on a beautiful, fairly new bike path, while the other half is on in-town roads with nice sidewalks.


We entered the campus at what seems to be the main entrance off of Campbell Avenue and road along University Blvd. through the main quad area.

Looking east on the long grassy area between the lanes of University Blvd.

We road through the main academic area at what must have been a change of class time. The place area was teeming with students going in all directions on foot, skateboard, and bicycle.  To us it appeared to be utter chaos, but everyone made their way through the crowd without incident (much to our amazement).

One of the science buildings (note the people in lab coats decorating the entrance)

What a surprise, there is a nice crested saguaro on the grounds to the Old Main building at the west end of the quad.

The next day we picked up Steve and Mona Liza for a hike  in Sabino Canyon.  Sabino Canyon, located northeast of Tucson at the base of the Catalina Mountains, is operated by the U.S. Forestry Service.  Three years ago we hiked up to Seven Falls with Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) and were anxious to return and do the hike again.

The trail goes up Bear Canyon for about four and a half miles, crisscrossing Sabino Creek seven times, and ends at the base of a beautiful series of seven waterfalls.  We failed to consider the result of recent rain and mountain snow in the area on the creek but were “tipped off” that the stream might be quite deep when we had trouble crossing a bridge on the road that leads to the trailhead.

Sure enough, the creek was much deeper than it was the previous time we hiked the canyon.

Along the trail we did spot the one crested saguaro known to be in the canyon.

At the end of the trail the path goes up the side of the canyon, giving us a nice view of the falls and the large pool at the base.

Seven Falls scene from the trail

The water was flowing rapidly over the last of the falls

Looking up the canyon from the main pool

Mona Liza and Steve enjoy lunch while drying their shoes and socks (a futile effort)

Two youthful hikers spotted near the main pool

Lunch with a view

On the hike up the trail we took great care in trying to avoid getting wet feet, without much success.  On the return trip we abandoned all efforts to stay dry and just slogged our way through the crossings.

Mona Liza “steps in it”

A fairly direct route back across the bridge

Soggy feet at the end of the hike

While it is a bit uncomfortable hiking with wet feet, the water crossing just added a little adventure to the hike.

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21 Responses to Visit to UA and Hiking Bear Canyon

  1. Maxxtrails says:

    Is it legal to ride on sidewalks in Arizona? We always ride on the road because at home you can not ride a bike on the sidewalk. Riding on the road limits were we ride our bikes since we don’t like busy roads! Looks like a great hike, I will add that one to our list 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      I am assuming it is legal because the sidewalks have bright green painted areas where the bikers move to cross the road from the sidewalk. We’ve been riding on the sidewalks during all our visits to Tucson.

      Yes, don’t miss this trail in Sabino Canyon!

  2. Laurel says:

    Haha, I agree, Florida biking is the best!! 🙂 Isn’t it funny how we enjoy biking in the flatlands, but hiking just isn’t hiking without mountains? Love Sabino Canyon — so fun to see four of our favorite people hiking together! That was an amazing amount of water on the trail — I’ll bet the wildflowers are going to be fantastic in the desert this spring.

  3. Gay says:

    I love that hike! What a great spot for lunch at the end. Soggy feet are no fun when hiking, but now you have stories and memories to share!

    Haven’t biked in Florida, but sure are enjoy the rides here in San Diego!

  4. Sherry says:

    Love that the campus has a crested saguaro. Admit it, that’s why you really went there. LOL. Amazing to be walking through water in the “desert”. I usually just take my boots off if I can even though they are waterproof, getting my socks wet makes for unhappy feet if I’m hiking very far. Love the 4 feet lunch and that picture of the young hikers. Great flashy hiking sox Mona Liza has.

  5. Ingrid says:

    I’m with you – biking flat only but we do like those elevation changes while hiking. Yikes, Mona Liza! Hope that camera was held high. Love seeing water in the desert. Seems to make it come alive.

  6. pmbweaver says:

    Oh my gosh…Saguaro Queen. We have driven though the grounds but not walked it. Next time we will see that beauty on our “walking” hike.

    We LOVE Sabino Canyon. Of course, I think that is where we did our most dangerous hike, but that is years ago. We are a ton smarter now….hehe

    We didn’t do Seven Falls…but next time. Mona Liza looks like she really got wet. Just have to go for it and dry out later.

    The rain might have been bad for the streams, but look how lovely the falls were. Awesome! super fun hike.

  7. montanaclarks says:

    Wow–you guys really know how to find those crested saguaros!!! We’ve never hiked Sabino Canyon–we’ve always had pooches. How wonderful to see that much water in the desert!

  8. Debbie says:

    We will have to try Seven Falls when we get there in a couple of weeks. Romero Pools is a favorite of ours out of Catalina State Park. Cycling hills is ok, you get the downhill and a little less seat time.

  9. Jim and Barb says:

    Seven Falls looks like a great hike and what a bonus to find a crested saguaro along the way!

  10. LOTS more water than last time!!!! What an adventure!

  11. Jeff says:

    Another great ‘lunch with a view’, and another nice crested saguaro.

  12. Jodee Gravel says:

    There’s probably a crested in the produce section when you guys go to Safeway! I wondered if your Keens were really that waterproof, but apparently not quite 🙂 Looks like a wonderful hike to the falls. There is an historic neighborhood near the campus with wonderful small bungalow-houses. Would be another great urban bike ride.

  13. Boy was the water frigid. Hiking with you guys is always an adventure. Thanks for taking us on our first soggy hiking feet.

  14. Wow! Looking up from the main pool was a fantastic sight. In an which looks otherwise dry and arid it was a surprise to see running water.

  15. girlonahike says:

    Wow, that waterfall and scenery looks amazing! Saving this hike to my Pinterest board! Alicia @

  16. Looks like you are having a great time in and around Tucson. How long will you be there? We may be stopping there at the end of this week and would love to see you guys (and Mona Liza and Steve).

  17. Nancy says:

    Those waterfalls were spectacular! Loved seeing that welcoming crested saguaro at the University!

  18. Larry says:

    Greetings – Ingrid from Live, Laugh, RV suggested I stop by to learn more about the SW from you guys. We’re considering a trip next winter and she advised you usually stay in FHU places which is what we do. So I’ll hang around for a while and follow your journeys.

  19. Thanks for the tip on Bear Canyon and Seven Falls. We hiked it earlier this week early in the morning and enjoyed it very much. We usually hike Sabino and appreciated the new direction.

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