Nestled in a lush, green valley of the Sonoran Desert, Tubac resides amicably along the east side of the Santa Cruz River. Multi-hued mountain ranges with peaks of up to nine thousand feet—including the Santa Ritas, San Cayetanos, and Tumacacoris—surround the village, stretching out in all directions as far and wide as the eye can see.
Far from the sandy soil and tumbleweeds of the lower Sonoran desert, the high desert produces more than 2,500 types of plants. Indeed, it seems Mother Nature has bestowed many of her most glorious gifts upon this unique little village—most notably the largest cottonwood grove in the world. In addition to the cottonwoods, the landscape is dotted with willow, Arizona Black Walnut, Arizona Ash, mesquite, and Palo Verde trees.
Many species of cacti and other succulents grow here, and carpets of beautiful annuals such as poppies, lupines, and owl clover cover the desert floor. A variety of wildlife roams the land here as well. Perhaps one of the oddest-looking animals native to the area is the javelina, otherwise known as the collared peccary. White-tailed deer, coatimundis, Arizona gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, coyotes, and mountain lions are in abundance here as well. And, though rarely spotted the jaguar, and the endangered Mexican Grey Wolf—the rarest, southernmost, and one of the smallest subspecies of the wolf in the United States—also make their home here in the foothills.
Up above, a fantastic array of our fine-feathered friends grace Tubac’s desert skies. The Tropical Kingbird, Arizona Flycatcher, Northern Cardinal, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Mac Gillvray’s Warbler, Vermillion Flycatcher, Goldfinch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Verdin, Cooper’s Hawk, Canyon Towhee, and the Black Vulture are among the species unique to the area.
If excitement is what you’re after, then rest assured there’s never a dull moment to be had in Tubac. Whatever your pleasure—from outdoor recreation and sightseeing to a relaxing day of pampering—you’ll find a wealth of opportunities here in which to indulge.
If you’re into the outdoors, Tubac does not disappoint. Golfers enjoy year-round golfing, with several challenging courses to choose from, all within minutes of Tubac. The scenic mountains and rustic dirt roads around Tubac offer hikers, bikers, and nature-lovers numerous trails on which to experience the desert and all of its natural wonders up close. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy bird-watching right in their own backyards.
A short drive takes you to beautiful Patagonia Lake where visitors will find a boating marina, full RV hookups, hiking trails sure to please both beginner and experienced hikers.
Tubac is truly a village like no other. With three major cultures—Spanish, Mexican, and Native American—lending their ethnic influences to the town’s evolution, Tubac has adopted a distinctive eclectic cultural flavor all its own.
Celebrated as an artist’s community, Tubac is home to painters, potters, sculptors, and carvers who produce works in every medium imaginable. An entire day can be spent strolling through the streets of Tubac visiting art galleries, working studios, boutiques, and gift shops.
Not to be outdone by the artists, Tubac’s chefs and restaurateurs indulge in a little creative artistry of their own. Tubac’s dining establishments offer a diversity of menus that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Whatever your culinary passion—be it fine Mexican or southwestern cuisine, authentic Italian cuisine, steaks, seafood, deli & gourmet sandwiches, homemade soups, decadent sweets, even ice cream—you can find it on the streets of Tubac.
To celebrate its uniqueness, Tubac hosts several major annual festivals and fairs. In February and November, the streets are filled with art and food booths for the Tubac Festival of the Arts events. A walking tour of the galleries and studios, The Tubac Art Walk, is held annually in the Spring. In October, the town honors Juan Bautista de Anza, the famous pioneer who established the first overland route from Tubac to San Francisco, during its Anza Days Celebration—a reenactment of Spanish colonial soldiers riding horseback from the Tumacacori Mission to the Tubac Presidio along the Anza Trail. The year is rounded out in December when the streets of Tubac are aglow with thousands of lights announcing its Fiesta Navidad/Luminarias celebration.