20+ of the BEST Family Hikes in Tucson

Welcome to our guide to the BEST family hikes in Tucson. It’s a great hiking destination for kids of all ages.

We have to admit it… we are biased and absolutely LOVE Tucson, Arizona. We have been visiting annually for 20 years and feel like we’ve done everything there is to do, both with and without kids.

One thing to mention is that we’ve done all of this WHILE staying with family in the 55+ community in Green Valley, AZ, which is just south of Tucson. We hear so many stories of families visiting grandma and grandpa in AZ, FL, or wherever and coming back unfulfilled.

Below are the over 20 of the best family hikes in Tucson. Each specific hiking destination contains a link to a mini-guide on the specific hikes in that area.

Just make sure you bring lots of water, sunscreen, and plenty of snacks!

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Best Family Hikes in Tucson - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Favorite Quote

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-do experience for kids. TripAdvisor ranks it as one of the Top 10 Museums in the country and the #1 Tucson attraction. The best part is 85% of the experience is outdoors and is home to some of the best family hikes in Tucson.

Some of the best hikes are easy hikes as well. It is a great place for the whole family, especially those with young children.

Ultimate Guide to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum with Kids

Madera Canyon Recreation Area & Mt. Wrightson

Best Family Hikes in Tucson - Kids hiking Mt. Wrightson in Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon is our favorite hiking destination in the Tucson area. There are a number of different trails. If you want an easy hike, try Proctor Road Nature Trail.

If you are looking for something for older children, definitely take Old Baldy Trail, which takes you up to higher elevations and can lead to the summit of Mt. Wrightson. This is all all-time favorite hike.

Madera Canyon offers a ton of outdoor opportunities, even in the heat of the desert summer. It is a world renowned bird-watching area with a great platform not far from the picnic area. Santa Rita Lodge, Chuparosa Inn, and Madera Kubo B&B all offer unique and secluded lodging experiences and the hiking trails are seemingly endless.

Friends of Madera Canyon publishes a great trail map and trail descriptions and trail descriptions. Both are also available at the trailheads.

The Best Hiking in Madera Canyon with Kids

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Kids hiking in the river in Sabino Canyon near Tucson, Arizona

Sabino Canyon is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains and is one of the more popular natural areas in southern Arizona. It has some of the best family hiking trails in Tucson, especially for younger kids.

The recreation area has over 30 miles of trails for hikers of all abilities. It offers shuttle services, which are available at the visitor’s center and are a great option for young kids or for accessing some of the more remote hiking options.

One of our favorites is the Bajada Loop, which is a short trail with interpretive signs and is a great spot to admire the saguaro cactus, which are native to the area. We also love the Bear Canyon Trail and Tram Road, Seven Falls Trail, and Sabino Dam Trail.

The Best Hiking in Sabino Canyon with Kids

Saguaro National Park (West)

Saguaro National Park - Kids standing in front of park sign in the West section of the park

Saguaro National Park is split into two sections, Saguaro National Park West and Saguaro National Park East, and is home to the nation’s largest cacti! It is also home to some amazing kid-friendly hikes.

You can find our full hiking guide for the West district (Tucson Mountain District) below, which is nestled in the Tucson Mountains.

Some of our favorite hikes include the Desert Discovery Trail, Signal Hill Trail, and the Bajada Loop Drive. Make sure you check out their amazing Visitor Center.

Best Hiking in Saguaro National Park (West) with Kids

We will publish a guide for the eastern section once we’ve had a chance to explore.

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is another gem that showcases the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains. If you have family at any of the retirement communities in Oro Valley, then this is your spot!

It is only a couple of minutes north of Oro Valley and is an excellent spot for a family hike. The park also has a Junior Ranger program open to kids 6-12 years old.

One of our favorite hikes is the Canyon Loop Trail. Romero Ruins is a short hike and is perfect if it is your first time visiting the park.

Best Hiking in Catalina State Park with Kids

Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area

One of our favorite hikes is the hike up to Pusch Peak via the Linda Vista loop Trails. The round trip is only four miles, but you climb 2,700 feet. It is a quad killer but well worth it for incredible views of Tucson and beyond.

Plus you get to come home feeling accomplished! This hike is well documented. Full trail instructions can be found here. I don’t think there is a better place to take in all of Tucson than from Pusch Peak. This too is right in Oro Valley.

This probably is best for families with older kids.

Canoa Hills Trails Park

Hiking in Canoa Hills Park near Tucson, AZ with Mt. Wrightson in the background

Canoe Hills Trails Park is another gem tucked away among the retirement communities in Green Valley. It is a wonderful spot to take grandma and grandpa for a walk. While not technically a hiking trail, and not technically in Tucson, it is a great kid-friendly option with paved trails stunning views of Mt. Wrightson.

Ultimate Guide to Canoa Hills Trails Park with Kids

Desert Meadows Park

Family sitting on the bench at Desert Meadows Park in Green Valley, AZ
“Family Picture”

Desert Meadows Park is a fun educational park located right in the heart of Green Valley. Back in 2014 a group of volunteers called Green Valley Gardeners signed a long-term lease for 4.2 acres and turned it into a wonderful desert garden.

There are hundreds of native plants with name tags. We enjoy walking the paths and learning about all the cacti that we come across on our hikes. They even have outdoor chess and some games/toys.

Ultimate Guide to Desert Meadows Park with Kids

Canoa Ranch Conservation Park

Canoa Ranch Conservation Park - View of the manmade lake and wildflowers

The Raúl M. Grijalva Canoa Ranch Conservation Park is located about 30 minutes south of Tucson and is the perfect hiking destination for families with very young kids.

The hikes are short, so are best for young kids, strollers, etc.

Ultimate Guide to Canoa Ranch Conservation Park with Kids

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The Quill Family

We are the Quills! An ordinary family sharing our extraordinary travel experiences. 

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