Another on my Tucson dream list…what does Cienega mean?


The Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, located in Vail, is beautiful this time of year. If you are yearning for the colors and smells of autumn take a hike along Cienega Creek. This is one of the most intact riparian areas in southern Arizona. The preserve protects approximately 12 miles of the lower creek. Portions of the creek are perennial, the result of bedrock formations just below the ground forcing underground water to the surface. Surface flows have not been depleted and groundwater levels remain shallow.

The canopy of Cottonwoods and Willows offers plenty of shade and beautiful fall colors.

Riparian habitats occupy less than 1% of Arizona, yet 75% of Arizona’s native wildlife species depend on these areas for all or part of their life cycle. The area along Cienega Creek supports over 200 native species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and over 100 species of birds. The…

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