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Old West History   > Tumacacori

Tumacacori Mission


National Historic Park

Also see:     Tubac Presidio

Left: Tumacacori Mission

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Tumacacori is located just south of Tubac on highway 19 (between Green Valley and Nogales). As part of Spain's expansion north from present day Mexico, Jesuit Eusebio Kino and his party founded a mission at Tumacacori in 1691. Tumacacori had previously been a Pima settlement. Lack of funding from Spain, on-going Apache attacks, disease and Pima resistance were on-going problems that the mission faced. To help protect the mission, a presidio was built in Tubac in 1751. In 1828, Tumacacori lost its last resident priest due to a mandate by the Mexican government that all Spanish born residents leave the country. In 1848, after another 20 difficult years, the last of the residents left Tubac and Tumacacori1.

Three missions were established at Tumacacori. The mission church San Jose de Tumacacori, a cemetary, mortuary chapel and portions of surrounding buildings can be toured at Tumacacori Historical Park. The buildings have not been restored, so be careful as you walk through the area. There are no plans for restoration; visitors can see the original mission, rather than a new building made to look like the original mission.

Nearby Presidio at Tubac was established to protect the mission. It contains the remains of the military buildings, plus a fasinating museum. To learn about the presidio, go to
Presidio of Tubac.

Pay the entrance fee at the visitor's center and watch the movie about the history of the area. The center also sells books and other items.

Take the self-guided tour of the garden, mission and cemetary.

The garden is a very beautiful area, and is located just off the visitor's center. The brick paths through the garden are wheelchair accessible. With benches and shade trees, the garden is a nice place to rest or relax and enjoy the quiet.

Right: garden at Tumacacori
Tucacacori garden

Tumacacori Tumacacori bell

Tumacacori The surrounding scenery is very pretty. Madera Canyon and recreation area (in the Coronado National Forest) is just noth of Tumacacori.

Below left:storage facility

Below right: priest quarters, later used as school

storage facility priest quarters
priest quarters

When the church was abandoned, the cemetary was vandalized. No original markers remain. The alter can be approached via accessible ramp through the side of the church.

church alter church cemetary Above: cemetary
Left: alter

Tumacacori Tumacacori park

Information Sources

1.  "Tumacacori." Brochure. nps.gov/tuma: National Park Service Website

Special Tips

Traveling with children, pets or special needs

Tumacacori accessibility information  Accessibility
A ramp is provided at the entrance to the church. The alter can be approached by ramp at the side of the church.

A private, family style, large, accessible restroom is available in the garden area outside of the visitor's center, but there are no bars on the walls. The trails are all accessible. A wheelchair is available for visitors, and can be found in the visitor's center.

Brick paths run through the garden; the remaining grounds contain dirt trails. All trails are accessible.

travel with children  Traveling with children
Trails are dirt and contain many ants in areas. Children should wear appropriate foot coverings. Stay on paths and do not climb on walls or other parts of buildings.

Children will enjoy the museum and movie, which are located in the visitor's center.

travel with pets  Traveling with pets
Leashed pets are allowed anywhere within the park except inside the museum.

NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. ALWAYS clean up after your pet.

Directions & Resources

From Tucson, drive south on highway 19. Shortly after Tubac, take exit 29. Follow signs to Tumacacori National Historical Park, located on the east side of highway 19.


nps.gov/tuma: National Park Service Website

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