Tucson  and its surrounding sky island ranges have excellent hiking trails for all experience levels. Desert trails, like at Tucson Mountain Park , tend to be rather flat and rocky, while the mountain trails, like Mount Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Mountains , are steep and usually offer some spectacular views.
I don’t recommend hiking in the desert during the height of summer. If you really must, start early in the morning and try to be done by noon. Always take water and salty snacks with you on the trail, always wear a hat, and stay alert to signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion/stroke.
If you’re hiking in Sabino Canyon  or in other areas of the desert that typically receive runoff from the towering mountains above during the rainy season in July and August be aware of flash flooding—just because it’s not raining in the desert doesn’t meant it isn’t raining in the mountains. And rain in the mountains invariably washes down to the desert, sometimes catching lowland hikers unaware and sweeping them off to their deaths.
If the trails and hiking areas listed here aren’t enough for you, check out local hiking expert Betty Leavengood’s Tucson Hiking Guide. You can find it online and at many local bookstores.
Biking, whether of the sleek road , easy trail , desert riding , or the tough mountain variety, is hugely popular in the Old Pueblo . For years Tucson  and Pima County have been recognized as very bike-friendly areas; the region is the only in Arizona to obtain a gold-level ranking from the League of American Bicyclists, and there are something like 630 miles of dedicated bike paths throughout the city and county.
The Tucson Visitor Center downtown at La Placita Village (110 S. Church Ave., 520/624-1817, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 9 a.m.–4 p.m.) offers free maps to many of the bike paths and trailheads here, or you can download the most up-to-date version at www.dot.co.pima.az.us/tpcbac/ , the website of the very active Tucson –Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee.
The horse has been an integral part of daily life in Tucson  and Southern Arizona since the Spanish introduced the beast to the Southwest back in the 1500s, and today there is still a distinct subculture of “horse people” in the Old Pueblo.
Most places require that kids be at least six years old to ride, and most have a 230-pound maximum weight limit, but call ahead to make sure.
Spring rides are the best, obviously, especially when the desert’s in bloom. Summer is different—go early in the morning or book one of the fun evening or nighttime rides many places offer. Always wear long pants and closed-toed shoes, and always bring a hat, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the cowboy type.