We were off to a hike on the eastern edges of Tucson Mountain Park. As we drove to the trailhead, I realized that getting there was most of the fun. We navigated trecherous Gates Pass with its hairpin turns and encountered some of the most beautiful scenery in the Tucson area. In fact, Tucson Mountain Park is one of the best places to view a sunset in the area.
Tucson Mountain Park (TMP) is a 20,000 acre sonoran desert natural preserve located a few miles west of Tucson via scenic Gates Pass. Tucson Mountain Park encompasses one of the most magnificent saguaro forests in the world.
Gates Pass History
Thomas Gates, local pioneer, saloonkeeper, and rancher, wanted a quicker route to his carbonate mine in Avra Valley. While exploring the Tucson Mountains, he found a natural canyon, marked by bubbling springs, streams, and lush growth. Gates paid $1000 to clear and grade the winding road over the pass, which now bears his name. Thomas Gates went on to be the Superintendent of Yuma Territorial Prision. He ultimately died by his own hand.
Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, picnicking, and camping are some of the recreational opportunities within this desert park.
Within the boundaries of Tucson Mountain park are found the renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
, Old Tucson Studios
, and the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute
(SASI)where creepy crawly things such as spiders are studied.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.