Painted Hills Park

The 289-acre Painted Hills Trail Park, 3590 W. Anklam Road, features 4 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, running or dog walking.

Organizations such as the National Park Service and outdoors stores have long advocated spending Black Friday outside rather than inside shopping. 

And in a COVID-19 holiday season, that sounds better than ever. 

We're lucky to have so many hikes with trailheads so near to us. While you could absolutely spend the whole day adventuring outside, these are hikes that you can do in few hours or less just to get everyone out and moving. 

Although you'll be outside, respect your fellow hikers and take a mask. Also standard hiking rules apply: Take water, dress accordingly and check for updated trail information before you go. 

Happy trails!

Tumamoc Hill

The classic. Tumamoc Hill is a paved hike that rises about 700 feet in elevation and is a 3-mile round trip walk from the base to the top of the hill. Let us promise you, the Tucson views are incredible and worth your sweat (because you will sweat). 

Because Tumamoc Hill is so popular, you'll need to follow some pandemic precautions to keep you and your fellow hikers safe. Group sizes should be limited to three or less and masks are required. Also, physical distancing is a must.  

Parking for the hill is along Anklam Road — not in the parking lots of St. Mary's Hospital or the medical offices across the street. Pets are not allowed. 

For more information, visit

Yetman Trail to the stone house

For those of you who like to hike with a destination in mind, this trail is for you. A roughly 2-mile, round trip trek on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountains will take you to the Bowen Homestead, a stone house built in the 1930s by Sherry Bowen (a onetime news editor for the Arizona Daily Star). 

The stone walls and foundation are still in decent shape, but the house doesn't have a roof or windows. Once you arrive at the house, you can explore, peering out the glass-less windows in to the desert beyond. It's a pretty incredible experience and a great place for a picnic. 

You can get to Yetman Trail from the Camino de Oeste Trailhead off Speedway. Take Speedway out west until you get to Camino de Oeste and turn left there. When the pavement ends keep driving on the narrow dirt road until it dead ends at a small parking lot. That's where the trail head starts. The trail to the stone house is pretty easy, but for a longer, more difficult hike, you could continue on past the stone house. 

Read about our experience hiking this trail here

Painted Hills Trails Park 

Just 15 minutes from downtown, the Painted Hills Trail Park offers some of the desert's best  — towering saguaros and sweeping views — without requiring you to leave civilization too far behind. The park, accessed at the trailhead at 3590 W. Anklam Road, has about 4 miles of trail to explore. 

At the beginning of this year, we hiked about 2.5 miles in the relatively new park, taking the trail that mostly ran parallel to Anklam Road (the Mosaic Trail). In total, this hike took us about 90 minutes, and we stopped a lot. The path was fairly easy and wide, although it did get rockier the further in we climbed. This would be an easy hike to extend by hopping on to one of the other connecting trails. 

For more about our experience with this trail, go here. For more information about the park, visit Pima County Natural Resources' Painted Hills Trails Park website

Read about our experience hiking this trail here. 

Pima Canyon Trail

This busy, out-and-back trail can be accessed by heading north on First  Avenue until it becomes Christie Drive. Follow that to Magee Road and turn right. The trail starts at Iris Dewhirst Pima Canyon Trailhead and heads into Pima Canyon, rewarding you with views of both the city and the Catalina Mountains. Sometimes, you may encounter water in a stream at the bottom of the canyon. 

Hiking websites rate this trail as moderate to difficult, but right now, users with the popular hiking website All Trails report that you can only hike to the 1.8-mile mark right now. The area beyond is closed due to damage from the Bighorn Fire. 

This is another super popular trail, so weigh that risk for social distancing and be sure to wear your mask. 

Read about our experience hiking this trail here

Mica View / Cactus Forest Trail 

Go to the east end of Broadway for a 2-mile walk through Saguaro National Park East. Access the park from the Broadway trailhead so you don't have to pay the vehicle entrance fee. 

There's a pretty extensive trail system here, so you can easily adjust your hike to fit your family's needs. The loop is mostly flat and easy for kids to navigate, plus, you might see jackrabbits, deer and lizards as well as tons of cacti. 

Go here for more hiking ideas in Saguaro National Park East. 

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