Following the Anza Trail - Tubac to Tucson Pt. 2


Tubac to Tucson  
Established in 1752 as a Spanish Presidio, Tubac is a vibrant and historic art village that features an eclectic collection of galleries, boutique shops, restaurants and bars, and unique southwestern lodging. This part of the route takes you north on 1-19 towards the city of Tucson.

1. Tumacácori National Historical Park
This historic site is home to one of the chain of missions founded by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino in 1691. Start your visit in the Visitor Center & Museum that features informative exhibits, artifacts, murals and statues that cover the history of Santa Cruz Valley, the mission period and the Anza expedition. Father Font held mass here on October 17, 1771 as the expedition moved toward Tubac.

There is a short video on the mission’s history to watch, and then you can take a self-guided or guided tour of the mission and mission grounds, and wander through the historic gardens and orchard. The Anza Trail passes through the park. The park hosts a number of cultural demonstrations and special events throughout the year.
1891 East Frontage Road,
Tumacácori, Arizona, 85640.
Tel: (520) 377-5060 or visit

Tubac Presidio Arizona State Historic Park
Tubac Presidio Arizona State Historic Park

2. Tubac Presidio Arizona State Historic Park
El Presidio Real San Ignacio de Tubac was established in 1752, to protect the European settlers from the area’s native Pima Indians. Even with the protection of adobe walls, over the years, the Presidio was abandoned and rebuilt nine times. In 1958, the Tubac Presidio became Arizona’s first state park and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Highlights of this extraordinary park include: underground archaeological exhibit of the Presidio ruins, Presidio Museum, Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper, the 1890s Rojas House, Arizona’s second oldest school, and a new Ethnobotanical Garden. The Presidio is also a trailhead for the Anza Trail. Juan Bautista de Anza served as the Presidio’s second commander from 1760-1766.
One Burruel Street,
Tubac, AZ 85646-1296.
Tel: (520) 398-2252 or visit

3. Anza Trail
Providing an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Anza’s expedition party, the Anza Trail is a non-motorized, 7.3 mile hiking, bicycling and equestrian trail that follows the Santa Cruz River.

Leading you through beautiful riparian areas with cottonwood and mesquite trees, the trail is a popular birding and geocaching trail. Watch for interpretive panels about Anza’s expedition. Trailheads are at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Tumacácori National Historical Park. Managed by the Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona, Inc.

4. Arivaca Cienega Trail  
About 40 miles west of Tumacácori National Historical Park, in the small community of Arivaca, this trail is in the eastern portion of the 117,500+ acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a spectacular bird and wildlife watching destination.  A bird watcher’s paradise, the Arivaca Cienega Trail is an easy and level 1.25-mile trail that circles a rare and seasonal desert wetland, and leads you through hackberry groves and grass areas. There is a bird viewing station overlooking Willow Pond, some benches along the trail, as well as shaded picnic areas and restroom facilities.
Call (520) 823-4251 or learn more on

5. Madera Canyon
About 35 miles northeast of Tumacácori National Historical Park, this popular birding, hiking and wildlife viewing spot is nestled within the Coronado National Forest and Santa Rita Mountains, and is one of the largest of the Madrean Sky Islands. Boasting over 256 documented bird species, Madera Canyon is rated the third best birding destination in the United States! There are campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails, handicap-accessible trails, and walking paths.

Mission San Xavier del Bac
Mission San Xavier del Bac

6. Mission San Xavier del Bac
Founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692, the mission was under Franciscan control when the Anza expedition stopped here on October 25, 1775. Father Thomas Eixarch of the expedition baptized baby José (his mother died while on the de Anza expedition) at the mission. Known as ‘The White Dove of the Desert’, it is the oldest European structure in Arizona and widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in America. The mission still serves the Tohono O’odham community. Located off I-19 and only 10 minutes from downtown Tucson, you can tour the church, museum and gift shop.
1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746.
Tel: (520) 294-2624 or visit

Following the Anza Trail Pt 1
Tubac to Tucson Pt 2 (This Page)
Tucson to Casa Grande Pt 3
Gila Bend to Yuma Pt 4
Yuma to Borrego Springs Pt 5 

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