10 Destinations Worth the Drive

Sights beyond Tucson’s city limits

Sights beyond Tucson’s city limits that deliver experiences well worth the modest mileage:

CASA GRANDE RUINS
The Casa Grande Ruins consist of a four-story structure left by the Hohokam people some 700 years ago. www.nps.gov/cagr. 1100 W. Ruins Dr., Coolidge, 520.723.3172

PICACHO PEAK
Spiking nearly 2,000 feet into the air, Picacho Peak is one of the most recognizable landmarks in southern Arizona. http://azstateparks.com/index.html. I-10 west, exit 219, 520.466.3183

SUMMERHAVEN
The teeny town of Summerhaven sits at the end of the winding Catalina Highway, atop Mount Lemmon, which soars to 9,157 feet. Grant Road east to Tanque Verde Road north/east to Santa Catalina Hwy. north

SONOITA & ELGIN
Visit such wineries as Sonoita Vineyards, Domaines Ellam, Dos Cabezas WineWorks and Callaghan Vineyards to taste the juicy yields from the soil of the Sonoran Desert. I-10 east to AZ-83 south

BIOSPHERE 2
Biosphere 2 conducts its research missions in a human-friendly, glass-enclosed microcosm that welcomes visitors. www.b2science.org. 32540 S. Biosphere Road, Oracle, 520.838.6200

KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY
Kitt Peak has the largest collection of optical telescopes in the world. noao.edu/kpno. Tohono O’odham Reservation, I-10 east to I-19 south to Hwy 86 west, Jct. 386., 520.318.8726

SAN PEDRO RIPARIAN NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA
In the 40 miles of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, cottonwood trees grow densely along the riverbanks and rare flora and fauna thrive. www.blm.gov/az. 520.458.3559

COLOSSAL CAVE MOUNTAIN PARK
The 2,000-acre park showcases pristine desert as well as the crystal-laden caves and historic La Posta Quemada Ranch. www.colossalcave.com. 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail, 520.647.7275

KARTCHNER CAVERNS
A massive cave system with paved and handicapped-accessible tour routes. http://azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/. 2980 S. Hwy. 90, Benson, 520.586.2283

CHIRICAHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT
An otherworldly forest of rock spires created by a volcanic eruption 27 million years ago. www.nps.gov/chir. AZ Hwy.181, 120 miles SE