There are many hiking opportunities in and around the Sonoita Creek Watershed, from within the town of Patagonia, to areas on the outskirts of town. Happy Trails!
Hiking within Patagonia
Animal Track Trail and Nature Preserve. Stroll along the Cottonwood Gallery Forest of Sonoita Creek. Stay in the creek or journey beyond to visit the Animal Track interpretive trail. To find the trail, go to the Montessori School, 500 N. 3rd Ave, Patagonia. The 12 acre stream side parcel includes 0.3 mile of trail and connects to the Patagonia Train Track Trail. Easy stroll with interpretive signs and brochure. Picnic area.
Patagonia Train Track Trail. Wind your way east of town along Sonoita Creek, bordering the Cienega of Sacaton grass. Patagonia was once a swampy area covered in this unique habitat type. The trail winds its way to the Native Seed/SEARCH conservation farm. Find the trailhead near City Hall on 3rd Ave. You’ll see a map next to the old Patagonia Train Station. Walk east on the north (sidewalk) side of Hwy 82, cross the bridge, find marker. The path is good for walking, trail bikes, leashed dogs, and equestrians. Several gates require dismounting from horses. Nice views of open space, level terrain and proximity to civilization make it a great choice for a moonlight hike. Approx. 2.5 miles, 1.5-2 hours for slow walkers.
- TNC-Lower Nature Conservancy Trail. Walk along the historic New Mexico-Arizona Railroad bed downstream from Patagonia. Brochures at Visitor Center, 2.5 miles of trails. (Map can be confusing, allow time for exploring on your first visit. The group area due west of Visitor Center is a beautiful, quiet spot.) Photo: Western Screech-Owl on Cienega Trail, Nov. 2011.
- TNC-Geoffrey Platts Trail. Look for trail signs on right side of Blue Haven Road (0.5 mile before Visitor Center) as you drive from Patagonia. Upland desert, 3 miles. Good view of the geography of Sonoita Creek between the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains. Open sunrise to sunset, many native grass species, dogs allowed, footing challenging in a few places, no charge.
- TNC-Nash Parcel Trail Trail starts near the of west/south end of Mckeown Street in Patagonia where it intersects Hwy 82. The trail leads to a cemetery. Park across the street at picnic table, enter through gate. Easy walk, about 1 mile round trip.
More information on TNC: www.nature.org select “Arizona, Places We Protect, Patagonia Sonoita Preserve”
April-September: Wednesday-Sunday, 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
October-March: Wednesday-Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays all year & on Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Days.
$5 per person. Conservancy members $3. Patagonia residents and ages 16 & under free. Fees are valid for seven days from date of purchase. Annual passes are available.
Hiking Outside of Patagonia
Arizona Trail – Sections 3 & 4 are in the Sonoita Creek Watershed
- 3 Canelo Hills West. Canelo Pass -to- Patagonia Rolling grass-covered hills, and breathtaking views of the watershed. Trailhead 3 miles south of town off Harshaw Road, look for the hiker sign and a parking area on the right. Follow the link above for more information & maps.
- 4 Temporal Gulch, Patagonia -to- Gardner Canyon Road Get intimate with the Madera Pine-Oak woodlands of the Sky Island region. This vegetation type extends into the Sierra Madre, is unique in Southern Arizona, and supports biological diversity. The drive to the trailhead requires high-clearance vehicles, but there is a parking area off the more maintained road, for a walk up Temporal Gulch, full of diversity & intermittent pools of water. Follow the link for more information & maps.
- Sonoita Creek State Natural Area at Patagonia Lake State Park – a few miles west of Patagonia.
3-10 mile trails and back country camping are available in the Arizona State Parks’ Sonoita Creek State Natural Area.