Desert Meadows Park is an excellent hiking location for kids, especially young ones, and is a great place to take grandma and grandpa for a walk if you happen to be visiting them in Green Valley, AZ. The park is located on a rehabilitated piece of land sandwiched between Green Valley and the Green Valley Pecan Company orchards.
The park was developed by the Green Valley Gardeners nonprofit and is 100% volunteer maintained and funded. According to their website:
A project of Green Valley Gardeners that began January 2014. We signed a long-term, renewable license for the 4.2-acre property on South La Huerta with the Desert Meadows 1 Property Owners Association (DM1 POA). We have committed club resources to create a multi-purpose botanical garden at this property and to provide on-going stewardship of this property. Desert Meadows Park is a community service project of the garden club for the enjoyment all area residents and visitors to the area.Green Valley Gardeners Website
Why should you visit Desert Meadows Park with your kids?
It is easy and educational! Much of the hiking around Tucson involves driving deep into canyons to access steep hiking trails. Desert Meadows Park is located right off of Interstate 19 only 30 miles south of Tucson. The park is flat with short winding trails throughout and educational signage on many of the unique desert plants.
What do you need to know before visiting?
The park is not staffed, so you can show up whenever. The hiking paths are gravel yet smooth, so are wheelchair/stroller accessible.
The park is right in the heart of Green Valley, so there are stores and restaurants aplenty! We are big fans of Manuel’s Restaurant for traditional Mexican food and La Vakita Meat Market for general Mexican groceries and their famous carne seca!
What should you do when you get to Desert Meadows Park?
Walk around! Right when you enter you will be surrounded by beautifully maintained desert plants. If you are luck, you will catch them in full bloom in the spring. There is a kids treasure hunt posted by the entrance where kids can grab a map and pencil and try their luck at finding all of the desert animals hidden throughout.
There is also a great patio area for a picnic, benches for birdwatching, toys and an outdoor chess area, and a section where they sell plants to take home. You will see a ton of bird watchers. Keep an eye on where they are watching and you are likely to see some gems, including beautiful hummingbirds.
The park borders the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, which is a relatively flat and open trail that leads all the way to San Francisco! We prefer to just walk a half mile or so if the kids have extra energy.
Final thoughts on visiting Desert Meadows Park with kids
Desert Meadows Park is an easy day trip from Tucson, or even easier if you are staying in Green Valley. The hiking is all accessible, safe, and relatively flat, so perfect for kids and grandparents alike! It is one of our favorite places to stop for a quick run before or after dinner.
Please note that there is limited shaded opportunities. As a result, we would not recommend hiking here in the summer. You are better heading over to Madera Canyon during those sweltering months!
Canoa Ranch Conservation Park is also right down the road and worth a stop!
Other Hiking Options in Tucson
Looking for other options for hiking with kids in Tucson? Here are some of our favorites!
- Best Hiking in Madera Canyon with Kids
- Best Hiking in Sabino Canyon with Kids
- Best Hiking in Saguaro National Park (West) with Kids
- Best Hiking in Catalina State Park with Kids
- Ultimate Guide to Canoa Hills Trails Park with Kids
- Ultimate Guide to Canoa Ranch Conservation Park with Kids
- Ultimate Guide to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum with Kids