Tumamoc Hill

Renee Ramirez, left and Blanca De La Rosa walk up the first stretch of Tumamoc Hill as Ramirez pushes her daughter, Quetzali Castorena, in a stroller.

Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star 2014

Tumamoc Hill walkers will soon be able to get their fitness on almost any time of day with newly extended hours.

The popular workout destination on Tucson's west side was previously closed to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. But beginning Sept. 5, the University of Arizona will extend access hours to the public to 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In an effort to preserve the area's plants, animals, historic structures and scientific research, cable fencing and gates will be installed at the top to mark the end of the walking pathway and to restrict access beyond the paved road.

Tumamoc, an 860-acre ecological reserve and U.S. National Historic Landmark, is owned and operated by the UA in partnership with Pima County.

"Tumamoc Hill is a remarkable community gathering place, and represents the best of our city," said Benjamin Wilder, Tumamoc's interim director. "We will continue to welcome the public and help connect people to the wonders and history of this site and the Sonoran Desert."

A new app, the Tumamoc Tour, will also soon be available in both English and Spanish for iOS and Android devices. The tour, narrated by David Yetman in English and Alberto Burquez in Spanish, has a soundtrack by Calexico and Gabriel Naim Amor, and tells the story of the Sonoran Desert through the lens of Tumamoc Hill.

"So many people already love Tumamoc Hill but are not aware of its historical significance," Wilder said. "This tour will expand people's sense of what a special place this is."