Tucson Mountains

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Tucson Mountains
Wasson Peak is the highest point in the Tucson Mountains. Unlike what this picture shows, snow is extremely rare in these mountains, especially in the amount seen here.
Highest point
PeakWasson Peak [1]
Elevation 4,687 ft (1,429 m)
Coordinates 32°16.4′N111°8.8′W / 32.2733°N 111.1467°W / 32.2733; -111.1467
USA Arizona location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Tucson Mountains in Arizona
CountryUnited States
Region Sonoran Desert
District Pima
Cities Tucson, Arizona
Range coordinates 32°13′30″N111°7′0″W / 32.22500°N 111.11667°W / 32.22500; -111.11667 Coordinates: 32°13′30″N111°7′0″W / 32.22500°N 111.11667°W / 32.22500; -111.11667
Topo map USGS Cat Mountain, Arizona,
Jaynes, Arizona,
Avra, Arizona,
Brown Mountain, Arizona

The Tucson Mountains (O'odham: Cuk Doʼag) are a minor mountain range west of Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Mountains, including Wasson Peak, are one of four notable mountain ranges surrounding the Tucson Basin. The Santa Catalina Mountains lie to the northeast, the Rincon Mountains are to the east of Tucson, and the Santa Rita Mountains lie to the south. Additionally the Sierrita Mountains lie due south, the Roskruge Mountains lie to the west across Avra Valley, the Silver Bell Mountains lie to the northwest, and the Tortolita Mountains lie to the north across the Santa Cruz Valley. [2]

Tucson, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.


Parks and preserves

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is located on the west flank of the Tucson Mountains. Much of the range is protected by Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain County Park. Old Tucson Studios are located just west of the Tucson Mountains.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, natural history museum, publisher, and art gallery founded in 1952. Located just west of Tucson, Arizona, it features two miles (3.2 km) of walking paths traversing 21 acres of desert landscape. It is one of the most visited attractions in Southern Arizona.

Saguaro National Park United States National Park, in the state of Arizona

Saguaro National Park is an American national park in Pima County, southeastern Arizona. The 92,000-acre (37,000 ha) park consists of two separate areas—the Tucson Mountain District (TMD) about 10 miles (16 km) west of the city of Tucson and the Rincon Mountain District (RMD) about 10 miles (16 km) east of the city—that preserve Sonoran Desert landscapes, fauna, and flora, including the giant saguaro cactus.

Old Tucson Studios film studio

Old Tucson is an American movie studio and theme park just west of Tucson, Arizona, adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western portion of Saguaro National Park. Built in 1939 for the movie Arizona (1940), it has been used for the filming of several movies and television westerns since then, such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Rio Bravo (1959), El Dorado (1966), and Little House on the Prairie TV series of the 1970s-1980s. It was opened to the public in 1960, and historical tours are offered about the movies filmed there, along with live cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.

Tucson Mountain Park was established April 1929. The Pima County Parks Commission, with C. B. Brown as its chairman, was established to oversee the park. At approximately 20,000 acres (8,100 ha), the park is one of the largest natural resource areas owned and managed by a local government in the U.S. The park has approximately 62 miles (100 km) of non-motorized shared-use trails. The area is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

Saguaro National Park was created as a National Monument in 1933 and later designated a national park in 1994. [3] The Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,180 ft to 4,687 ft and contains 2 biotic communities, desert scrub, and desert grassland. Average annual precipitation is approximately 10.27 in. Common wildlife include the coyote, Gambel’s quail, and desert tortoise. [4]

According to historian David Leighton, Brown Mountain in Tucson Mountain Park, is named in honor of park founder, C.B. Brown, Kinney Road the main thoroughfare in the park, is named for Pima County Supervisor, Jack C. Kinney who worked with Brown in the creation of the park and McCain Loop was named for J.C. McCain, the first park ranger.

Tumamoc Hill

Tumamoc Hill is a butte located immediately west of "A" Mountain and downtown Tucson, Arizona. It is home to many radio, television, and public safety transmitters. The 860-acre ecological reserve and U.S. National Historic Landmark was established by the Carnegie Institution in 1903. The University of Arizona (UA) owns a 340-acre (1.4 km2) preserve and leases another 509 acres (2.06 km2) as a research and education facility. The Steward Observatory maintains a small astronomical observatory with a 20-inch (510 mm) telescope on the hill. Besides being a prominent landmark, Tumamoc Hill has a long and varied history, and is currently an important site for ecological and anthropological research as well as a refuge and a recreational option for the people of Tucson. The Desert Laboratory located on Tumamoc welcomed a new director, Ben Wilder, as of 2018.

Sentinel Peak (Arizona) mountain in Arizona, United States of America

Sentinel Peak is a 2,897 ft peak in the Tucson Mountains southwest of downtown Tucson, Arizona. The valley's first inhabitants grew crops at the mountain's base, along the Santa Cruz River. The name "Tucson" is derived from the O'odham Cuk Ṣon[tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning "[at the] base of the black [hill]". In the 1910s, University of Arizona students used local basalt rock to construct a 160-ft-tall block "A" on the mountain's east face, near its summit, giving the peak its other name, "A" Mountain. The peak is part of a 272-acre park, the largest natural resource park in the City of Tucson.

Sonoran Desert North American desert

The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.

See also

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Avra Valley

The Avra Valley is a 50-mile (80 km) long northwest-southeast valley, bordering the west of Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Mountains are at the valley's center-east, with suburbs ranging east of the Tucson Mountains and trending northwest to the Avra Valley's northeast. This entire northwest stretch from Tucson contains the northwest trending Interstate 10, the route to Casa Grande and Phoenix. The northeast of the valley contains Marana on I-10, the Pinal Airpark, an aircraft storage park, and other communities along I-10. Avra Valley Airport is a general aviation airport in Marana, located about 15 miles northwest of Tucson and being used for storage of classic propeller-era airliners.

Santa Catalina Mountains mountain range

The Santa Catalina Mountains, commonly referred to as the Catalina Mountains or the Catalinas, are north and northeast of Tucson in Arizona, United States, on Tucson's north perimeter. The mountain range is the most prominent in the Tucson area, with the highest average elevation. The highest point in the Catalinas is Mount Lemmon at an elevation of 9,157 feet (2,791 m) above sea level and receives 180 inches (460 cm) of snow annually.

Rincon Mountains

The Rincon Mountains are a significant mountain range east of Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, in the United States. The Rincon Mountains are one of five mountain ranges surrounding the Tucson valley. The other ranges include the most prominent, the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Tucson Mountains to the west, and the Tortolita Mountains to the northwest. Redington Pass separates the Rincon Mountains from the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Rincon Mountains are generally less rugged than the Santa Catalina Mountains and Santa Rita Mountains. The Rincon Mountains are also included in the Madrean sky island mountain ranges of southeast Arizona, extreme southwest New Mexico, and northern Sonora Mexico.

Tortolita Mountains

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Catalina Highway Forest Highway in Arizona

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Tinajas Altas Mountains

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Muggins Mountains

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Tank Mountains

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Gates Pass mountain pass along the crest of the Tucson Mountains

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Little Ajo Mountains mountain range

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Cerro Colorado Mountains

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Silver Bell Mountains

The Silver Bell Mountains are an arid north-northwest x southeast trending small mountain range in north-central Pima County, Arizona. The range lies 14 miles (23 km) west of Marana, Arizona, located on Interstate-10, northwest of Tucson.

San Luis Mountains

The San Luis Mountains are a small, lower elevation mountain range of central-southern Pima County Arizona adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border, northeast of Sasabe, Arizona–Sasabe, Sonora.

West Silver Bell Mountains

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Las Guijas Mountains

The Las Guijas Mountains are a small northwest - southeast trending mountain range in southern Pima County, Arizona. The range is approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) long by 4 km (2.5 mi). Surrounding ranges includes the Cerro Colorado Mountains to the northeast, the Tumacacori Mountains of Santa Cruz County to the east, the San Luis Mountains to the south and the Baboquivari Mountains across the Altar Valley to the west. Arivaca is immediately to the southeast and the old mining townsite of Las Guijas is in the wash just north of the range.

Brawley Wash river in the United States of America

Brawley Wash is an ephemeral stream, tributary to the Santa Cruz River, located in Pima County. Its source is in the Altar Valley between the Sierrita and Coyote Mountains at 31°58′20″N111°23′29″W, at the confluence of the Altar and Alambre washes along Arizona State Route 286. It flows north-north east through the Altar Valley and turns north as it enters Avra Valley near Robles Junction where Arizona State Route 86 crosses the streambed. The wash traverses the Avra Valley between the Roskruge Mountains and the Tucson Mountains. It joins the Santa Cruz east of the Samaniego Hills of the Silver Bell Mountains. The wash is known as the Los Robles Wash near its junction with the Santa Cruz approximately six miles west of Avra and Interstate 10.

Cocoraque Butte Archaeological District place in Arizona listed on National Register of Historic Places

The Cocoraque Butte Archaeological District is located in Ironwood Forest National Monument, in Pima County, Arizona. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1975, the Cocoraque Butte Archaeological District features ancient Hohokam ruins, hundreds of well-preserved petroglyphs, and the historic Cocoraque Ranch.


  1. Avra, Arizona, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1996
  2. Silver Bell Mountains, Arizona, 30x60 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1994
  3. "Saguaro National Park Fast Facts". National Parked. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  4. "Saguaro National Park - Nature & Science (U.S. National Park Service)". Nps.gov. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2010-12-30.