Since I’m on a mission to get as many stamps for my National Parks Passport as possible, I was pretty excited to learn that I would get two stamps for hiking the Anza Trail from Tubac to Tumacácori in Arizona: one stamp for Tumacácori National Historical Park and one stamp for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
On a Stamp Mission…in an Old (Jesuit) Mission:
So, you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that I would not only get two stamps…but a pin, too. Now, this was a good day on my National Parks quest!
It was an even better day because I got to take this hike along the Anza Trail with my best friend, Marlena, who joined me in Arizona to celebrate her birthday. And – on her birthday – she put up with my need to hike, collect stamps, and geocache along the way. She is an excellent friend.
We were lucky because, on the day that we arrived at the Tumacácori National Historical Park Visitor Center, there was a free shuttle offering lifts to Tubac Presidio State Park. This means that we were able to walk the four miles along the Anza Trail back toward our car, rather than turning around to walk four miles back.
At the start of the trail just outside the doors of Tubac Presidio State Park, a ranger handed us a map and gave us the excellent news that we were earning two stamps and a pin. Tumacácori National Historical Park offers an “I Hike for Health” pin to anyone who hikes at least four miles along the Anza Trail.
The trail is a 1,200-mile trail stretching from Mexico to California, tracing the historic route of Juan Bautista de Anza who left Mexico in 1775 and – along with 300 colonists – traveled all the way to California, creating an overland route to what we now call San Francisco.
The portion of the Anza Trail from Tumacácori to Tubac Presidio State Park is a flat, shady trail that follows along the Santa Cruz River. It is a lovely way to retrace the steps of the explorers who stopped here to plan for their journey westward and to receive blessings at the mission.
Along this route are the memories of Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries as well as the O’odham and Apache who would eventually cause the missions to close due to their revolts against the colonizers.
The four-mile Anza Trail from Tumacácori to Tubac Presidio State Park ends at the remains of the church at the Mission San José de Tumacácori. It’s an eery and beautiful site, with a cemetery, stairs leading to nowhere, and hallways ending in a long-abandoned altar.
I mean, I was already pretty happy about the two stamps and bonus pin, but Tumacácori even offered free corn tortillas for tasting. What a great way to end a four-mile hike.
Many thanks to Marlena for joining me on this bit of adventure travel!
Start at the visitor center of either the Tumacácori National Historical Park (1895 E Frontage Road, Tumacacori, AZ) or the Tubac Presidio State Park (One Burruel Street, Tubac)
It is just over four miles from Tumacácori to Tubac. Of course, you can also drive! It’s just a seven-minute drive.
Two hours one way to walk. Seven minutes to drive.
Easy and flat! Bring water, though, it gets hot out there.
If you walk four miles along the trail, you get a pin!
The shuttle between the park isn’t always running so you might need to turn around and walk back! Check before you go.
Tumacácori National Historical Park and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Tubac Presidio State Park does not have a stamp as it’s a state park.
A bonus visit to Tumacácori National Historical Park, and an “I Hike for Health” pin if you walk the four-mile portion of the Anza Trail between the parks.
Check out these homes for rent and hotels nearby: