Arivaca Cienega Trail

(520) 823-4251

A Birdwatcher’s Paradise in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge


Wildlife Refuge Specialist Joshua Smith talks about the 117,500-acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a spectacular bird and wildlife watching destination 60 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, on Big Blend Radio.


A haven for bird and nature enthusiasts, the Arivaca Cienega Trail is an easy and level 1.25-mile trail that follows a footpath and boardwalk around a rare and seasonal desert wetland, leading you through groves of mesquite and hackberry trees, past majestic oaks and willows, and along grassy areas speckled with the colors of seasonal sunflowers and wildflowers that include all kinds of poppies, daisies, morning glories, monkey flowers, and cactus.

Depending on the time of year you visit, bird species range from the brilliant red vermillion flycatcher to the elusive sora rail, black-throated sparrow, northern cardinal, phainopepla, loggerhead shrike, summer tanager, red-winged blackbird, a variety of warblers, hummingbirds, thrashers, ducks, swallows, egrets, herons and hawks, as well as roadrunners and turkey vultures. Keep your eyes open for resident deer, bobcat and coyotes, toads and turtles, and even coatis. There’s a bird viewing station overlooking Willow Pond, some benches along the trail, as well as shaded picnic areas and restroom facilities at the entrance. The Tucson Audubon Society hosts free guided bird walks at the Cienega, every Saturday at 8am, from November to April.

The trail is in the eastern portion of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, in Arivaca, a small Southern Arizona farm and art community about 60 miles south of Tucson.

For more information call (520) 823-4251 or visit
. Keep up with the Refuge’s programs, bird and wildlife sightings on Facebook.

JIGSAW PUZZLE: Watch our Big Blend Video “60 Seconds of a #OneHourWalk – Cienega Trail,” and then enjoy piecing together this online jigsaw puzzle of the Cienega while listening to the Big Blend Radio interview with Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Specialist Joshua Smith. Use the full screen icon to make it easier. Use your mouse roller or arrow keys to rotate the puzzle pieces and click and drag to put the pieces in place. Use the Image Icon to see the picture and the Ghost Icon to set your workspace.

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