Wendy & Richard are our Casita guests from Canada for the month of February. Wendy is pretty handy with a camera, so I invited her to share some photos from their short dog-friendly hikes around the Tucson area. They are accompanied by their furry beast, Casey, who is still adjusting to our warm winter weather.
Dog Friendly Hiking In Tucson
Sweetwater Preserve Hike
The Sweetwater Preserve has a number of hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. All of the trails are dog-friendly, although the sharp rocks may be a bit harsh for your dog’s footpads. My husband Richard, our dog Casey and I especially enjoyed walking through the towering Saguaro cactus along the Saguaro Vista Trail which led to the Sun Circle Loop, a very scenic trail of rolling hills (2 miles round trip). The Black Rock Loop is a bit harder to walk as the path is primarily loose rock, is fairly steep in places and you have to be very careful how you step (4 miles round trip). The Spine and Wildflower Ridge Trails with return via the Roller Coaster is an easy walk (2 miles round trip) and gives you views of downtown Tucson. Be sure to wear good walking shoes and be prepared to yield to bikes and horses. For we Canadians, who have never spent any time in the Sonora Desert, it was a real eye-opener as to just how green and full of life the desert really is. We are very much looking forward to seeing the wildflowers bloom is late February before we return to the ‘Great White North’.
Catalina State Park Hike
On recommendation from author Rene Guillory`s book Best Hikes with Dogs Arizona we walked the Romero Canyon Trail to Montrose Pools (2 miles round trip). As this is a state park, there is a $7 day use fee per vehicle, but if you have Tucson Attractions Savings Passport, you get a 50% discount. Our first surprise on this hike was that we had to cross the Sutherland Wash which actually had rivulets running with clear mountain water. We hopped across most of them but still wound up with damp feet. However, our dog, which is a Malemute/Border Collie X, thoroughly enjoyed dabbling in the cool water. We then climbed a steep 300 ft hill to reach a gently rising sandy path leading to the Santa Catalina Mountains. The mountain scenery is quite simply beautiful. You will reach a fork in the path – to the right is the Montrose Pools and to the left is the remainder of the Romero Canyon Trail. Dogs are not allowed past this point as the park is attempting to restore the Big Horn Sheep population in this area. The Montrose Pools were a lovely surprise to the end of our hike.
Christopher Columbus Park
If you enjoy a quick, hill-free stroll around a man-made lake with Arizona Sycamore and Ponderosa Pine trees, then Christopher Columbus Park is for you. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, big-mouth bass, catfish, and sunfish so fishermen, and cormorants, abound. While we were here in February, there were also four nesting Great Blue Heron, a Great White Egret, many different species of ducks (including domestic white ducks who seem to fit in very well with the wild ones), American Coots, cowbirds, and different species of blackbirds. As you cross the bridge, watch for turtles sunning on the river bank. If you want to let your dog run free, there is a fenced dog park with water bowls available. On the weekends, the park is filled with families hoping for a trout dinner. A very enjoyable hazard-free stroll.