Sabino Creek, which had been bone dry for 153 straight days until mid-February, is now flowing at a good clip thanks to recent valley rains and mountain snows.
Visitors to Sabino Canyon, northeast of Tucson, walked trails along the creek this week and stopped to take photos and videos at popular Sabino Dam.
A U.S. Geological Survey gauge in the canyon reported a flow of 2.06 cubic feet per second on Thursday, March 8.
“There’s a nice sheet of water coming over the dam, but it’s slowly decreasing,” said Kurt Ehrenberg, a hydrologic technician with the USGS who made measurements on Tuesday, when the gauge read 2.7 cubic feet per second. “Still, things are flowing again, and that’s good.”
Immediately after heavy rains flushed Sabino Canyon with water and finally broke the creek’s long dry spell on Feb. 15, the gauge recorded a very hearty flow of 347 cubic feet per second.
“That was a peak brought on by the rains we had,” Ehrenberg said, noting that such high levels won’t return until the area receives additional significant rain.
“There’s a small chance of rain Sunday, but usually in the spring things start drying up,” he said. “But you never know. We could get a surprise.”
SEE THE FLOW WHILE IT LASTS
Walkers and tram travelers on the main canyon road can get close views of the creek at several bridge crossings along the road.
A short hiking route — the 0.2 of a mile Bluff Trail — traces the creek and is also one route leading to Sabino Dam via a connecting path. Reach the trail by walking about three-quarters of a mile up the canyon road, and watch for a trail sign along the road at the bottom of a hill.
Sabino Canyon is at 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road. Visitors pay a $5-per-vehicle fee.