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235 miles round trip
Founded in 1775, Tucson was a city before Phoenix was a stagecoach stop. Among the oldest European settlements in Arizona, it is the state's second largest city with a unique blend of storied past and space-age present. Today, nearly 700,000 people live in metropolitan Tucson. The University of Arizona is a major world center for astronomy and has Flandrau Planetarium with evening star shows.
Built in 1939 as the set for the epic film "Arizona," Old Tucson Studios has remained a popular place to visit to see the Old West. Rebuilt after a fire destroyed many of the old buildings, it continues to be a popular attraction for people of all ages. One of the most popular locations for Western movies and TV shows, they have more than 300 productions under their belt and more coming every year.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an innovative, exciting mix of zoo, botanical garden and aquarium. Although it's called a museum, you will find this place is really a naturalist's dream - a mecca for the curious.
Sabino Canyon is an extremely popular recreation area at the edge of Tucson. Hiking trails and picnic areas are abundant throughout the area. Many varieties of wildlife, such as deer and birds, have made the Coronado National Forest their home. A shuttle bus operates year-round.
The famous Mission San Xavier del Bac has twin white towers rising from the green desert that gave it the name "White Dove of the Desert." San Xavier del Bac has been acclaimed the best example of Spanish mission architecture in the U.S. One tower remains uncompleted.
Saguaro National Park has two separate areas, located on the east and west sides of Tucson. Choose a leisurely drive on one of the scenic loop drives or explore the park on more than 150 miles of hiking trails.