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Tumacacori National Historic Park
The Spanish colonial missions of San Jose de Tumacacori and Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi, established in 1691, are the oldest missions in Arizona. This national historical park encompasses the ruins of these and the mission of San Cayetano de Calabazas in the upper Santa Cruz River Valley of sou...
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Sycamore Canyon - Goodding Research Natural Area
Description: Five miles south of Ruby Road, rugged Sycamore Canyon leads to the Mexican border. The canyon features steep slopes, rugged cliffs, and pinnacles that tower over 200 feet above the canyon floor. The canyon is lined in part by Arizona sycamore trees; oak woodlands in the northern end gradually give way to Sonoran desert scrub with saguaro cactus in the southern portions.

An amazing richness of plant species occurs here, and part of the area has been set aside as the Goodding Natural Research Area. Named after Leslie N. Goodding, one of the first botanists to explore southern Arizona, the area features several plant populations that are either isolated or occurring at the limits of their geographic ranges, such as the epiphyte Tilansia recurvata, a member of the pineapple family.

Wildlife to Watch: Over 130 species of birds inhabit the canyon, including the elegant trogon, rose-throated becard, thick-billed kingbird, Arizona woodpecker, painted restart, varied bunting, whiskered screech-owl, northern pygmy owl, dusky-capped flycatcher, northern beardless-tyrannulet, five-striped and rufous-crowned sparrows, Montezuma quail, and black vulture. Mammals include white-tailed deer, javelina, coyote, coatimundi, and gray fox. Several rare or unusual animals occupy the canyon, such as the Sonoran chub, mountain skink, canyon spotted whiptail, and Chiricahua leopard frog. Ring-necked snakes, Sonoran mountain kingsnakes, and tiny Yaqui black-headed snakes are a few of the many snake species inhabiting these mountains and canyons. The rare and unusual brown vinesnake has been seen here along with many other species of tropical reptiles.

Special Tips: Patches of poison ivy are commonly found along the trail; during the monsoon season (July-August) beware of the potential for flash flooding in this rugged, narrow canyon.

Other Activities: The Sycamore Canyon trail follows the intermittent stream through the canyon for over 5 miles to the international border. As it begins, it passes the ruins of the Hank and Yank (Bartlett) Ranch before reaching the canyon. The trail is unmarked and difficult to distinguish, although it follows the general course of the canyon. It is generally flat and gravelly and passes perennial riffles and shallow pools, although cobble and rock hopping is required in some areas. Certain sections also require wading through the creek, which can be deep and muddy.

Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service 
Size: 1000 acres 
Closest Town: Nogales


Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Sycamore Canyon - Gooding Research Natural Area - photo by William Radke
Use link below please

Driving Directions:
Take the Pena Blanca Lake/Ruby Road/Hwy. 289 exit (Exit 12) off I-19 and proceed west on Ruby Road. Ruby Road is paved for 9 miles to the Pena Blanca Lake Recreation Area and then becomes a graded dirt road called Forest Road 39. Continue for 8.5 miles on FR 39 to Sycamore Canyon Road (FR 218). Turn left (south) and proceed a short distance to the tree-shaded parking area. From the parking area follow the trail towards the canyon.

Map Link

Sycamore Canyon - Goodding Research Natural Area : Wildlife Viewing Area