Finest Open air 2022 | Open air

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Best cycling

The Chuck Huckleberry Loop Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation

3500 W. River Road

520-724-5000, webcms.pima.gov

The Chuck Huckleberry Loop, known as the Loop for short, is a shared-use paved trail system connecting Cañada del Oro, Rillito, Santa Cruz and Pantano River Parks, forming a complete 56.9-mile loop trail. Pima County residents and visitors can join the Loop on foot, skate, bike, and horseback and enjoy the “unincorporated” scenery of Pima County, Marana, Oro Valley, Tucson, and South Tucson. Officially completed in January 2018, the Loop connects hiking trails, parks, bike routes, businesses, schools and more throughout the greater Tucson area.

Reader recommended

mount lemmon, 10300 downhill ski road (to the ski area), 520-547-7510, fs.usda.gov

sabino gorge, 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road, 520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov

Best cycling group/community

OUTLETS

2001 N. Seventh Avenue

520-628-7950, bicas.org

Located north of downtown Tucson, BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting bicycle education, affordable bicycle transportation, and engaging with its community in creative recycling. The program includes bike repairs, earning a bike, creating art with recycled materials, and youth activities.

Reader recommended

bike ride on tuesday evening tnr.bike

El Grupo Youth Cycling, 610 N. Ninth Avenue, 520-429-6138, elgrupocycling.org

Best hike

Sabino Gorge

5700 N Sabino Canyon Road

520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov

Nestled at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon is “one of the finest natural areas in southern Arizona.” Take the “moderate to difficult” Bear Canyon Trail towards Seven Falls or the Bajada Loop for an easy walk. For a more challenging and steep switchback climb, park visitors can take the Blacketts Ridge Trail. Sabino Canyon has paved roads that are wheelchair accessible and bike friendly. There are opportunities for wildlife viewing, but be respectful as you might only see a rattlesnake.

Reader recommended

tumamoc hills, Tumamoc Hill Road, 520-621-6945, tumamoc.arizona.edu

catalina state park, 11570 N. Oracle Street, 520-628-5798, azstateparks.com

Best backpacking trail

Arizona Trail

738 N Fifth Avenue

602-252-4794, aztrail.org

The Arizona National Scenic Trail stretches 800 miles from Arizona through Mexico to Utah. It’s a diverse backpacker adventure that combines scenic mountains, canyons and deserts while showcasing the stunning wildlife of the Southwest United States and historic cultural sites along the way.

Reader recommended

sabino gorge, 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road, 520-749-8700, fs.usda.gov

aravaipa gorge, 711 14th Avenue, 928-348-4400, blm.gov

Best campsite

Patagonia Lake State Park

400 Patagonia Lake Road

520-287-6965, azstateparks.com

Established in 1975, Patagonia Lake State Park is a hidden gem in southeastern Arizona. The campgrounds overlook the lake and offer opportunities for water skiing, fishing, picnicking, and hiking. Wildlife in the area ranges from white-tailed deer to catfish and gray herons, making for a scenic experience.

Reader recommended

madera gorge, Santa Rita Mountains, 520-281-2296, fs.usda.gov

catalina state park, 11570 N. Oracle Street, 520-628-5798, azstateparks.com

Best Dog Park

Gene C Reid Park

900 S. Randolph Way

520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov

Miko’s Corner Playground at Gene C. Reid Park is great fun for dog lovers. There are 5 acres of land zoned for dogs big and small to explore, with dog-friendly drinking fountains, scoop dispensers, and a ramada with tables. The park is named in honor of a Tucson Police Department police dog who lost his life on duty.

Reader recommended

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E River Road, 520-724-5000, webcms.pima.gov

Morris K. Udall Park, 7290 E. Tanque Verde Street, 520-791-4877, tucsonaz.gov

Best Public Garden

Tucson Botanical Gardens

2550 N Alvernon Way

520-326-9686, tucsonbotanical.org

No matter what our unfortunate out-of-state relatives say, we know the desert is green. Take them to Tucson Botanical Gardens and prove it to them. A true oasis of calm in the midst of our busy city, here you can sit in the shade of one of the many mature trees and enjoy the well-tended foliage. Look for specialty gardens like the cactus and succulent gardens, the barrio garden, and the herb garden, among others. Plus butterflies, orchids, lunch and shopping. Then learn how to become a gourmet chef at the cooking courses. Keep an eye on the events calendar as there is always something going on.

Reader recommended

Tohono Chul, 7366N Paseo Del Norte, 520-742-6455, tohonochul.org

Reid Park Cele Peterson Rose Garden, East 22nd Street and South Country Club Road, 520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov

Best day trip

Mount Lemmon

10300 ski run road (to the ski area)

520-547-7510, fs.usda.gov

One of Coronado National Forest’s Heavenly Isles, Mount Lemmon tops locals’ list of escapes from the desert heat. Known for its cooler temperatures of at least 20 degrees, Mount Lemmon’s summit at 9,171 feet is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Open year-round, Mount Lemmon is a place for year-round hiking and seasonal skiing (weather permitting), biking trails, and over 2,000 rock climbing routes. Rose Canyon Lake also offers a tranquil fishing area. Fear not if you forget to pack lunch, the Lemmon has restaurants in Ski Valley and Summerhaven to satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy the scenic 1-hour drive and feel the temperature change as you climb Tucson’s favorite mountain.

Reader recommended

bisbee, 278 N Dart Road, 520-590-0432, Discoverbisbee.com

tubac, 1 Burruel Street, 520-398-2704, tubacaz.com

Best bike shop

Ajo bikes

1301 E. Ajo way

520-294-1434, ajobikes.com

Ajo Bikes is locally owned and operated and caters to all of its riders cycling needs. They stock a wide range including recumbent tricycles and have a staff capable of servicing any brand of bike. The shop prides itself on offering top products at unbeatable prices.

Reader recommended

SHARPEN, 2001 N. Seventh Avenue, 520-628-7950, bicas.org

sabino cycle, 7045 E Tanque Verde Road, 520-885-3666, sabinocycles.com

Best Outdoor Recreation/Sporting Goods Store

summit hut

5251 E. Speedway Boulevard

520-325-1554, Summithut.com

For outdoor experiences of any kind, Summit Hut has everything you need. The sporting goods store has a huge range of affordable gear for men, women and kids, ranging from hiking and climbing to camping.

Reader recommended

play it sports again, 4750 E. Speedway Boulevard, 520-795-0363, playigainsports.com

Best park

Reid Park

900 S. Randolph Way

520-791-4873, tucsonaz.gov

There is plenty to do in Reid Park – Horseshoe Square, ponds with ducks to feed, playgrounds for children of all ages, picnic pavilions, hiking/running/biking trails and a zoo. The zoo has more than 500 animals.

Reader recommended

hot water park, 12325 E Roger Road, 520-724-5000, pima.gov

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E River Road, 520-724-5000, https://bit.ly/BrandiFentonPark

Best golf course

Starr Pass Golf Club

3645 W. Starr Pass Blvd

520-791-6270, marriott.com

Marriott’s Starr Pass Golf Club is set against a backdrop of the bright Arizona desert and scenic mountains. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the resort features three nine-hole courses: the Coyote Course, the Rattler Course, and the Roadrunner Course.

Reader recommended

La Paloma Country Club, 3660 E Sunrise Drive, 520-299-1500, lapalomacc.com

Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N Resort Drive, 520-299-2020, loewshotels.com