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Explore / nature / high country

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve

Nature Conservancy Riparian Habitat

2 Cool Lizards travel guide

The Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve is located approximately 60 southeast of Tucson, near the town of Patagonia, in a floodplain valley in the watershed of Sonoita Creek. Visit this riparian habitat to see birds, butterflies, insects and other wildlife that inhabit the area. This wetland area, according to the Nature Conservancy, is the most endangered natural community in Arizona.

Go to: Nature Conservancy: Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve for more information.

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Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve The Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve is located approximately 60 southeast of Tucson, near the town of Patagonia. Stop in at the Visitor's Center for information on the area and to pay the entrance fee. Exhibits explain the importance of the region, and provide information on local birds, animals and plants.

According to Nature Conservancy: more than 1.5 million acres are preserved in Arizona by the Nature Conservancy. Land they manage is some of the rarest habitat in North America. Riparian areas such as the Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve are necessary for the survival of the extremely rare cottonwood-willow forest, which is one of the rarest forests in North America; approximaely 90 percent of these wetlands have been lost1.

The Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve lies in a floodplain valley, within the watershed of Sonoita Creek. Walk the trails to see birds, butterflies, insects, squirrels and many more inhabitants of this riparian habitat.

NOTE: Fishing and hunting is NOT ALLOWED. PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED on the trails. Visitors must STAY ON TRAILS. Smoking is allowed only in the parking lot. Do not collect anything and do not leave anything.

1. Go to: Nature Conservancy: Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve for information on birding, maps, donations and other preserves.

Fabulous reviews of nearby places:
San Pedro Valley
Patagonia Lake

Another Nature Conservancy Preserve:
Hassayampa River Preserve

Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve trail
Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve meadow
Wetland Meadow
Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve bird
Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve


From Tucson, take I-10 southeast. Turn right (south) on highway 83 toward Sonoita. Turn right (south) on highway 82 to Patagonia.

In Patagonia, turn west on 4th Avenue. Turn south on Pennsylvania, cross the creek, and continue on about one mile to the entrance.


Nature Conservancy Website: patagonia-sonoita creek preserve

accessible travel

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Trail Accessibility
A large family style, private, accessible restroom is located in the visitor's center. Some trails have steps; trails are not developed and not accessible by wheelchair unless you have all terrain tires. However, part of the trails can be accessed (even though undeveloped) and the area is very pretty. A lot can be seen from the porch of the visitor's center. We were able to watch a gray hawk through a telescope on the porch. Numerous hummingbirds were drinking nectar from a feeder on the porch.

travel with children Children
Watch children very carefully. Due to stinging insects (ants and chiggers for example), be sure children are protected by insect repellent and good walking shoes that cover the feet. Children must stay on paths at all times. Radios, tape players and electronic calling devices are not allowed. Children must remain quiet for the sake of other visitors and local wildlife.
travel with pets Pets
Pets such as dogs, horses and other domestic animals are not permitted.

NEVER LEAVE PETS UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE - TEMPERATURES CAN BE RISE QUICKLY INSIDE VEHICLES ON SUNNY OR WARM DAYS (when we went in 2007 - check their website for up-to-date information).

Nature Conservancy Website: patagonia-sonoita creek preserve

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