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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hikes to hit up in Tucson and where to eat afterwards

Jaden Zelms

Hikes in Tucson offer students an exciting and beautiful close-to-campus getaway

It’s only getting hotter in Tucson, so now is the time to explore the many hikes and restaurants the city has to offer. A region surrounded by five major mountain ranges makes it ideal for outdoor activities this spring, and grabbing local cuisine after makes the perfect day trip. 

Hiking Spots

The Santa Catalina Mountains are just a 30-minute drive from campus and include the highly trafficked Sabino Canyon.

The United States Department of Agriculture states that Sabino Canyon is “one of the most popular recreational sites in southern Arizona for hiking, jogging, wildlife viewing, photography, and picnicking.” However, if you’re not in the mood for physical activity, Sabino Canyon offers a shuttle service. The Sabino Canyon Crawler operates every day of the year. This is a great alternative if you want to explore the canyon without the hassle or physical labor. 

Charles Woodward, the district ranger of Sabino Canyon, spoke about the natural scenery and explained the benefits of the shuttle. 

“One of the benefits of taking it up or coming back down is obviously the exercise. So you can take it up but if you’re not in the best of shape you can hike it back down. So you can hike downhill most of the way back. One of the negatives about it is only taking it halfway. You miss half the tour. So there’s a guided tour up. There’s also a guided tour coming back down with more information,” Woodward said.  

Visitors can also ride the shuttle and get off at any of the eight stops and hike down.

“If you are here for the day, take it up, go explore and hop back on at about 9 p.m. Catching it on the way down is always good. A lot of people do that,” Woodward said. 

Woodward mentioned that the best trails in Sabino Canyon can vary based on the hiker.

“It depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. If you are a very experienced hiker, I’d say you could do Blacketts or Phone Line or Seven Falls trail.” 

According to the Sabino Canyon Website, Phone Line is rated as a moderate trail that’s “rocky and narrow on steep slopes.” Blacketts Ridge trail is rated difficult and includes a “steep climb with switchbacks, and false summits.” Seven Falls trail features a waterfall at the end of the eight mile hike. 

“If you’re not as experienced as a hiker, hiking Sabino Canyon road is always a good way for you to go hiking. It’s good to do that because you’re on the main road and not off in the recreation area so much. Bear Canyon trail is also another one that can take you to the Sabino Canyon dam,” Woodward said. “Depending on your experience level and how much time you have, it could be a good one for you as well.” 

Post Hike Cuisine 

Along with many trails, Tucson offers an abundance of local restaurants to fuel up after a long day of hiking. One local spot is the family-run and operated Taco Stop which is a food truck specializing in Mexican cuisine.

Co-creator and founder Nick Gamez spoke about the shop and why they opened. 

“My wife, Joselyn Gamez, is the owner, operator and creator. I just do all of her heavy lifting,” Nick Gamez said. “All of our friends used to come over for dinner at our house and were just amazed by her cooking and her food. They’d always say, ‘You guys should open a restaurant.’ And then we bought the truck and took us about four years of working and renovating it to get it the way we wanted.”  

Nick Gamez advises students who check out the food truck to try the tacos. Quesa Birria is one of the most popular taco right now. 

However, if you’re feeling something a little bit more refreshing, Acai Paradise offers smoothies and acai bowls.   

Keila Flores is the manager of Acai Paradise and shared the most popular items on the menu.

“The most popular is rainbow in paradise, which has bananas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi and you get to pick between mango and pineapple,” Flores said.

Flores explained her personal favorite item on the menu.

“My favorite is My Paradise because it has the berries. It has blueberries, strawberries and bananas. The acai is a superfood. It has antioxidants and it’s a sorbet. We put coconut oil, granola and fresh fruit on top.” Flores said.

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