Sweetwater is an excellent example of a constructed wetland designed to be highly accessible to visitors; it is one of the prime places in urban Tucson to see native wildlife. The wetlands, built to re-create part of the wetland and riparian woodland habitat that once flourished along the Santa C...
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
|Description: Spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert greet visitors to this park with vistas reaching the Santa Rita, Empire, Whetstone, and Huachuca Mountains above the horizon. The vast desert and canyon walls and lush trees line the streambed below.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park hosts a wide array of vegetation and habitats, encompassing the Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, grasslands, and a woodland riparian area. The slopes and ridges are covered by arid succulents such as desert spoons, shindaggers, yuccas, and saguaros.
Wildlife to Watch: This entire site allows exceptional opportunities to view wildlife. The cave is home to a variety of migratory bats, with all three of Arizona’s leaf-nosed bats known to inhabit the park. Other mammals include mule and white-tailed deer, javelina, bobcat, ringtail, coyote, and coatimundi. Birding opportunities are better at the creek and campground within the dense mesquite trees and at the trail that follows the riparian area at La Posta Quemada Ranch, and include gilded flicker, Gila woodpecker, curve-billed thrasher, vermilion flycatcher, cactus wren, black-tailed gnatcatcher, greater roadrunner, verdin, and Gambel’s quail. Reptiles include desert tortoise, Gila monster, and desert spiny lizard.
Other Activities: The cave tour route is 1/2 mile long and takes about 45-50 minutes, with a guide. The trail descends about six and a half stories to view cave formations like stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, boxwork, and helictites. The park has several opportunities for hiking and horseback riding, including a loop trail, connections to the Arizona Trail, and an archaeological trail.
Ownership: Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation
Size: 2000 acres
Closest Town: Vail
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: