Our next stop was near Tucson where we spent a few days visiting Old Tucson and hiking at Sabino Canyon. I really like Westerns so Old Tucson was for me like being a small kid in a candy shop. It was like stepping back in time to the wild west but without the dirt, smells and danger of being shot. I grew up watching Westerns and one of my favourites was the High Chaparral and it was great to wander the set. All day there are activities with actors playing gunfighter’s, saloon girl dancing and singing, stagecoach rides, silly rides in gas operated cars or just wandering around the town and the old sets of movies and tv series. We had a great day out at Old Tucson. It cost $17 each and it was money well spent. At the beginning of the day you get a piece of paper listing the times of all the activities with something happening throughout the day for adults and kids. My wife also paid to do a horse ride for an hour.
Looking at the movie sets used in backdrops for hundreds of westerns is like a walk down memory lane ranging from the Three Amigos to Rio Bravo. Throughout the day are several performances at the saloon with saloon girls singing and dancing. You can also do a short Stagecoach ride for $3. There is also a quaint little train that circles the town. I enjoyed the stunt show in the afternoon and learnt a little about some of the tricks when acting in fighting and shooting. My advice is to come early. We got there at 10.30 and ended up staying for the last show at 4.45 pm.
The Sabino Canyon is near Tucson. Sabino canyon is a popular park for hiking, swimming or just sight-seeing. The cactus for me were fantastic and I really enjoyed our short hike. We paid $8 each to take a tram to the end of the road to tram stop 9. It would be good if the tram had a one way ticket but they do not and Tram 9 stop is where it turns around and returns to the visitor centre. It’s a nice noisy ride with a narration about the history, fauna and flora as well as geology of the canyon. You can get off and on the tram at several stops.
We decided to do the 5.3 mile hike back to the visitor centre. The trail takes you up high and you follow back along the canyon wall with great views down the narrow canyon. Loved all the cactus and surprisingly we had the trail mostly to ourselves. People seem to just walk a few hundred metres up the track from Tram stop 9 and then return to the tram stop. There also are shorter hikes around the visitor centre.
It was well worth the effort to see the scenery. Make sure you have good boots or runners and water to drink.