8 Dog-Friendly Trails to Enjoy in Southern Arizona

Hiking can be a great form of exercise for your own personal health, but it can also be beneficial for your dog. In addition to being a fun and inexpensive way to spend more time with your furry friend, hitting the trails together can:

  • Cure your pet’s boredom
  • Provide your pet an outlet to burn off pent up energy
  • Give your pet an opportunity to exercise and build endurance
  • Let your pet bond with you even more

Hiking with your dog is an activity that can be done at any time of the year here in Tucson. If you're new to the Tucson area, just visiting, or a Tucson-native who just wants to get out more with your pup, we've got some beautiful pet-friendly trails that are sure to please.  

The Arizona desert offers breathtaking views and scenery that will delight your senses and provide a positive energy outlet for your pup. Below are 8 pet-friendly trails in southern Arizona that are sure to make hiking your new favorite bonding experience with your best buddy.

We recommend these 8 dog-friendly trails in Southern Arizona:

1. Rillito River Park Trail

4200 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

The Rillito River Park Trail runs from I-10 to Craycroft Road on the north and south banks of the Rillito River. The path is designed so you never have to cross any streets, and distance is marked. A fun, easy hike for all ages (even for those whose age is counted in dog years).

2. Madera Canyon

S. Madera Canyon Rd.
Green Valley, AZ 85614

Madera Canyon is known for exceptional and varied hiking trails. It is a north-facing valley in the Santa Rita Mountains with riparian woodland along an intermittent stream, bordered by mesquite, juniper-oak woodlands, and pine forests. The Mt. Wrightson trailhead provides access to several trails, including the Super Trail and Old Baldy trail.

3. Agua Caliente Hill Trail

3799 N. Camino Cantil
Tucson, AZ 85749

Agua Caliente Hill Trail is an 8.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail that features beautiful wildflowers. The trail is rated as difficult, so it may not be the best trail to take unless your pooch is physically fit. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

4. Crest Trail

4801 Quivera Trail
Sierra Vista, AZ 85701

Crest Trail is a 21.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail that also features beautiful wildflowers.  The trail, which is rated as difficult, is accessible year-round. Dogs must be kept on a leash.

5. Dove Mountain Trails

(behind the Ritz Carlton)
15000 N. Secret Springs Dr.
Marana, AZ 85658

Dove Mountain Community is a hiking and biking trail in Marana, within Dove Mountain Park. It is 5.3 miles long, begins at 2,671 feet altitude, and connects with the Upper Javelina Trail.

6. Patagonia Lake State Park

400 Patagonia Lake Rd.
Nogales, AZ 85624

Patagonia Lake offers a .5-mile hiking trail that leads to Sonoita Creek and is a very popular birding area. Additional trails can be accessed through Sonoita Creek State Natural Area.

7. Sonoita Creek Natural Area

400 Patagonia Lake Rd.
Nogales, AZ 85624

Sonoita Creek Natural Area offers 20 miles of trails for hiking.  A 1.5-mile hike of moderate difficulty called the “Overlook Trail” is close to Patagonia Lake State Park and is a great way to see 360 degrees of spectacular scenery. Most of the trails are more remote and the shortest round trip hike to the creek is three miles on the Sonoita Creek Trail.

8. Catalina State Park

11570 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85737

There are eight trails at the park, varying in length and difficulty, but all with amazing views. Trails include Romero Ruins Interpretive Trail, Nature Trail, Birding Trail, Bridle Trail, Canyon Loop Trail, Sutherland Trail, 50-Year Trail, and Romero Canyon Trail. Leashed dogs are welcome on all trails.

Find Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

Originally published July 2016. Revised February 2019.

Subscribe to Our Blog