Joggers and walkers can participate in the Meet Me At Maynards event every Monday in the Downtown area. The event is free and noncompetitive.

While Tucson is an acknowledged leader in the national running community, we’re also home to some amazing walking events. This column often focuses on running for health, recreation and competition, but we wanted to give you a list of upcoming noncompetitive walks and hikes throughout some of the treasures of Tucson’s landscape.

Trail Walking and Hiking

We’ll start with a listing of events put on by Pima Country Natural Resources. These low-stress walking and hiking activities cost $5, but are free with the purchase of a Pima County Natural Resources Annual Pass. See webcms.pima.gov/government/natural_resources_parks_and_recreation for additional details and a listing of all their recreational walking events.

Birding
  • 8 a.m., Sept. 5, join a local birding expert at Colossal Cave Mountain Park, and walk the beautiful trails seeking bountiful birdlife in the Arizona Uplands of Colossal Cave Mountain Park. All ages are welcome.
  • 8 a.m. every Thursday, meet at Agua Caliente Park for a guided walk to see a variety of birds, such as vireos, orioles, flycatchers, warblers and more.
  • 7:30 a.m., Sept. 12, check out “Birding at Cienega Creek.” Begin an easy walk at the Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead (16000 E. Marsh Station Road) and search for hawks, tanagers, warblers and other feathered friends in the diverse habitats of Cienega Creek Natural Preserve.
Full Moon Nature Walks
  • 6:30 p.m., Sept. 6 and Oct. 5, join a Pima County naturalist for a comfortable two-hour walk among the trails of Sweetwater Preserve (off of Camino del Cerro, in the Tucson Mountains) and watch the full moon rise at Sweetwater Preserve.
Hikes
  • Oct. 28: Hike Rock Wren Trail. A moderately challenging 2- to 3-mile guided hike, enabling you to enjoy the scenic and rugged beauty of the Tucson Mountains.
Urban Walking
  • 6 p.m., every Monday, make your way to Meet Me at Maynards, at the Old Train Depot, 100 S. Toole Street. Founded eight years ago, Meet Me at Maynards has become one of the most prominent features of Downtown Tucson, with up to 500 walkers and joggers of all ages and abilities doing a free and noncompetitive 1- to 3-mile loop through the heart of Downtown Tucson. All participants receive a handstamp, good for discounts to over 25 local restaurants and bars, while earning T-shirts, hats, and more for multiple visits.
  • 6 p.m., Wednesdays, check out Meet Me Wednesdays at St. Phillip’s Plaza (Southeast corner of River Road and Campbell Avenue). An off-shoot of Meet Me at Maynards, this free Wednesday night event is more low-key, with up to 200 walkers and joggers doing a 1- to 3-mile route along the famed Rillito Riverpath, part of the Pima County Loop. All participants receive a handstamp, good for discounts to nearby restaurants and you can earn T-shirts, hats, and more for multiple visits.

A nationally-recognized expert on running, Randy Accetta is a past-president of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, co-owner with wife Tia of Run Tucson, and national Director of Coaching Education for the Road Runners of America. He is an award-winning Mentor-in-Residence at the UA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.