Agua Caliente Park

mapRoy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Regional Park
12325 East Roger Road
Tucson, AZ 85749
Open: 7 am - Sunset

AguaCalientePark@pima.gov
Parks and Amenities Interactive Map
Get driving directions


Ranch House Visitor Center and Art Gallery

The ranch house is staffed by volunteers. Currently, we do our best to be open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm (except county holidays) and will be adding additional days and hours when possible.

Friends of Agua Caliente Group Show: The Friends of Agua Caliente (FOAC) works to preserve the contemplative nature of this “oasis in the desert” along with its natural Sonoran desert habitat and deep cultural history. Their love for the Park and the larger Pima County landscape shine through in this multimedia exhibit.

Exhibit open now through the end of May. Open hours, Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To join or support FOAC, visit their website 

Agua Caliente Pond One

Features/Amenities

  • Drinking water
  • Picnic tables and grills
  • Restrooms
  • Paved and hard packed walking paths
  • Map of Reservable Sites  (click on Permits tab below to access form to reserve a site)

Brochures

Environmental Education and Interpretive Programs

Friends of Agua Caliente Park

   

Agua Caliente Pond One IslandAbout Agua Caliente

Agua Caliente, literally meaning hot water, is a unique 101-acre park that features a perennial warm spring and pond that is home to an exceptionally rich mix of plants and animals. Agua Caliente Park has a long and interesting history with evidence of human habitation dating back about 5,500 years. In 1873, a ranch and health resort was developed to promote the curative properties of the warm springs. In 1984 local businessman Roy P. Drachman donated over $200,000 toward the purchase of Agua Caliente Ranch and Pima County named the park in honor of this contribution. Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park opened to the public on January 19, 1985.

Improvements have added the modern conveniences without eliminating the historical aspects of the park. On July 9, 2009 Agua Caliente Ranch Rural Historic Landscape was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The flow rate from the spring has varied over time reportedly as high as 500 gallons per minute to an unmeasurable seep in recent years. The sources and pathways for the water that now infrequently comes out of the natural spring head are not fully understood. Rainfall and snow on the Santa Catalina Mountains, shallow and deep rock stresses and fractures as well as significant heat generated hundreds of feet below the surface, all contribute to the complex and changing system. In recent years the pond has been maintained with water pumped from a well located on the property.

Visit the renovated 1870s Ranch House Visitor Center and Art Gallery, tour the park on one of the many naturalist led walks, or picnic in the shade of mature palm trees and native mesquite trees. Stroll the network of accessible paved and gravel trails with interpretive signs that explain the geology and history of the warm spring and the natural and human history of the site.
Sign up for a program by clicking the register now button. You can also purchase an Annual Tours and Outdoor Activities Pass to get free or reduced cost for tours and programs. How to set up an account in Active Net.

Programs

Sunrise Family Walk
Join Alex Wolfe for a refreshing walk at the first light of the day. Enjoy cooler temps and dimly lit skies before the sun makes its appearance over the mountains. Experience the morning chorus of native birds and possible wildlife sightings. This walk will be on smooth dirt or paved trails. Bring a flashlight or headlamp, water, and close-toed comfortable walking shoes. This program is appropriate for all ages. Paid adult must accompany children. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Sundays May 1, May 15, June 5, and June 19, 5:30-7:00 a.m.

‘Slow Birding’ Agua Caliente Park
Enjoy the desert oasis of Agua Caliente Park to see waterfowl, raptors, sparrows, and more. All ages welcome. Slowing the pace has many benefits – for both nature and nature-lovers. When we are still in nature, nature becomes active around us, undisturbed, encouraging more and deeper observation, understanding and appreciation of our natural world. The pace, distance, and terrain of this program make it appropriate for persons with limited mobility. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Wednesdays, May 4 and June 1, 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Wild Skills: Outdoor Survival 101
Are you prepared for your next outdoor adventure? What if something doesn’t go as planned? Taking a positive, confidence-building approach, we’ll talk about how to be ready for the unexpected, including: planning a safe excursion, what to do if you get lost, which items are most important to carry with you, and skills that will help you survive and thrive if something goes awry. Learn simple steps that can save your trip and transform a sticky situation from an outdoor emergency into a great campfire story.
$10 fee. Online registration required.
Thursday, May 5, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Birding For Every BODY: Agua Caliente Park
Join Marcia OBara for a leisurely birding experience designed for nature lovers with accessibility challenges; wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistive devices are welcome. The pace is slow, distance short, and terrain even. This month’s birding explores the emerging birding hotspot of Agua Caliente Park where we hope to see waterfowl, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and more. This program is offered in partnership with the Tucson Audubon Society. Free. Online registration required.
Wednesday, May 11, 7:30-9:00 a.m.
Registration opens Saturday, April 9; visit https://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/birding-field-trips/

Sunset Family Walk
Join Alex Wolfe for a relaxing stroll during the last light of the day. Enjoy dropping temps and colorful skies before the sun dips away behind the horizon. Experience the shifting sounds as day transitions into night and possibly even some wildlife sightings. This walk will be on smooth dirt or paved trails. Bring a flashlight or headlamp, water, and close-toed comfortable walking shoes. This program is appropriate for all ages. Paid adult must accompany children. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Fridays, May 13, May 27, June 3, and June 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Bioblitz: Agua Caliente Park
Join Pima County naturalists to, using iNaturalist on your smartphone, identify and document the plants and animals of Agua Caliente Park!
Saturday, May 14 •7:00-10:30 a.m.; 7:00-10:00 p.m.

Birding Agua Caliente Park
Explore the ponds, mesquite bosque, and surrounding desert of Agua Caliente park in search of its rich bird life. Even though winter is coming to a close, but it is still a good time to look for raptors, warblers, and more. All ages welcome. As with all nature-related activities, our voices can have a large impact on what we see, so side conversations are discouraged. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Wednesdays, May 18 and June 15, 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Lizards of Agua Caliente Park
Join us as we search for whiptail, spiny, ornate tree, and other lizards that roam Agua Caliente Park. Binoculars are available for use or bring your own. All ages welcome. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Friday, May 20, 8:00-9:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 18, 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Accessible Birding with SAAWR: Agua Caliente
Join Marcia OBara and Kimberly Aikins of the Southern Arizona Accessible Wildlife Refuge (SAAWR) for a birding outing designed for nature lovers with accessibility challenges; wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistive devices are welcome. On this trip, we will gather at one of the best birding spots in Urban Tucson – Agua Caliente Park – where we hope to see waterfowl, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and more. Each registered participant is welcome to bring a support person. This program is offered in partnership with the Tucson Audubon Society and Southern Arizona Accessible Wildlife Refuge. Free. Online registration required.
Saturday, May 21, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Registration opens Saturday, April 9; visit https://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/birding-field-trips/

Stargazing Agua Caliente Park
Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association volunteers provide an introduction to the night sky and set up telescopes for celestial viewing. Feel free to bring your lawn chair. All ages welcome. Weather permitting. Free. Online registration required.
Saturday, May 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Register at: http://pima-county-nrpr.eventbrite.com

Nature for Every BODY
Join Alex Wolfe for a leisurely outdoor experience designed for nature lovers with accessibility challenges; wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive equipment are welcome. The pace is slow, distance short, and terrain even. Explore the peaceful paths of Agua Caliente Park where we hope to see blooming plants, chirping songbirds, and possibly some reptiles as the temperatures warm up. Each registered participant is welcome to bring a support person. Free. Online registration required.
Wednesdays, May 25 and June 29, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Bat Walk at Agua Caliente Park
Explore the nocturnal world of bats, beginning with an introduction to their diversity, biology, and conservation. The group will then set off on a casual stroll with bat detectors to determine which species are flying overhead. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Wednesday, May 25, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Digital Naturalist: Apps to Help Connect with the Outdoors
Although screen time and outdoor time may seem at odds with each other, there are a slew of apps that – when used thoughtfully – can help us connect with the natural world around us. This interactive, indoor-outdoor workshop will highlight a number of free apps designed to enrich outdoor experiences, from finding a new trail and mapping your adventure to identifying constellations in the night sky or birds by their songs. Bring your smartphone and try out some of these digital tools in Agua Caliente Park. $10 fee. Online registration required.
Sunday, June 12, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Fledgling Birders: Birding for all Ages and Abilities
Are you new to birding? Need help getting started? Birding is a great way to get outside to explore nature, learn more about wildlife and wildlife behavior, hone your observation skills, reduce stress, and connect with others. Join naturalist Jeff Babson for a casual birding experience to familiarize yourself with birding basics. Loaner binoculars available. All ages encouraged. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Saturday, June 18, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Dragons and Damsels of Agua Caliente Park
Agua Caliente Park is an excellent habitat for dragonflies and damselflies. On this walk, we explore the ponds in search of damsels and dragons, learn how to identify them, and discover the secrets of their amazing lives. All ages welcome. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Wednesday, June 22, 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Desert Night Shift
As most people retire indoors for the evening, our desert comes alive! Join Pima County naturalists on an easy hike to discover “who” is out and about in the desert at night. Learn why many animals, and even some plants, are nocturnal and how they manage life in the dark. Bring a headlamp or flashlight. All ages welcome. $5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Monday, June 27, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Agua Caliente ParkKnow the Rules

  • No alcohol
  • Barbecues may only be fueled with charcoal or propane
  • No fishing, no wading or swimming, do not climb trees
  • No bicycles, scooters, or skateboards
  • Dogs on leash and clean up after your pet. No horses
  • No motorized vehicles, motorized toys, or drones (Allowed: drone with license, drone insurance, or permit)
  • No pop-up shade canopies, jumping castles, piñatas, kites, confetti, and balloons or activities requiring staked nets or posts
  • No loud music or PA systems
  • No metal detecting and geocaching
  • Do not release or abandon pets or wildlife
  • No collecting firewood, plants, fish, wildlife, and any other natural or cultural resources
  • Do not feed ducks or other wildlife

Pond Two

Permits

Special Event Permits
Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation is currently evaluating Special Event Permit requests on a case by case basis.


Research and scientific studies must have prior permission from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation. A Right-of-Entry permit is required. For more information call (520) 724-5000.

Commercial and Professional Photography and Filming Special Use Permits are required for commercial photographers to use Pima County Parks for photo shoot backdrops. Per Pima County Park Rule 1.020, all commercial activity on a county park must have the prior written permission of Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation. For more information please go to the Commercial Filming Permits link.

Commercial Use Activities
Per Pima County Rule 1.020. It shall be unlawful to use County parks or recreation areas for commercial purpose, public meetings or assemblies, erection of signs, fences, barriers or structures, to distribute advertising materials, or sell and goods or services without first obtaining a written permit from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department.
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Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation

3500 W. River Road
Tucson, AZ 85741

(520) 724-5000


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