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Agua Caliente Park

map Roy 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 and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm (except county holidays) and will be adding additional days and hours when possible.

Friends of Agua Caliente: 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

Ongoing Restoration Work

The spring, stream, and former grass area along the entrance road will remain fenced to public access while crews continue work on restoring fire damage. The rest of the park will be open to the public.

NRPR in collaboration with Risk Management will provide a complete monetary estimate upon project completion. The reason that the total cost isn't known now is because restoration work will be ongoing and likely won't be completed until sometime in 2023. 

If you’d like to help, you can make donations to:

The Pima County Parklands Foundation
Donations are tax-deductible, within the limits of the law. For more information, call (520) 241-8885 or email mhellon@aol.com. To make a donation via PayPal go to http://pimaparklands.org/  

Checks can be mailed to:
Parklands Foundation
3500 W. River Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85741

You can also make a donation to:
Friends of Agua Caliente Park
https://friendsofaguacaliente.org/donate/

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

Fledgling Birders: Birding for all Ages and Abilities
$5 fee. Children free with paid adult. Online registration required.
Saturday, December 17 • 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Stargazing Agua Caliente Park
Free, family-friendly fun. Registration required. Weather permitting.
Registration: http://pima-county-nrpr.eventbrite.com
Saturday, December 17 • 6:00-8:00 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. We expect to see woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, vireos, and wintering waterfowl. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Wednesdays, January 4 and 18, February 1 and 15, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

Paint Out in the Park
Join the Sonoran Plein Air Painters for a plein air art demonstration by Virginia Belser to learn some soft-pastel techniques for capturing landscape scenes in the open air. “Meet the Artists” reception and Paint Out in the Parks exhibition opening to follow the demonstration. All ages welcome. Free.
Saturday, January 14, Paint Out 8:00-10:00 a.m., Demonstration 10:00-11:00 a.m., Reception 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Historical Tour of Agua Caliente Park
Enjoy a guided walk around the lush grounds and historic buildings of Agua Caliente Park to gain insights into the rich farming and ranching history of the site. Designed for ages 12 and up. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Sundays, January 15 and February 5, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Birding For EveryBODY: 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. Explore beautiful 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. Free. Online registration opens Saturday, December 10; visit https://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/birding-field-trips/
Thursday, January 19, 8:00-9:30 a.m.
Friday, February 17, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

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. Family-friendly fun. Weather permitting. Free. Online registration required; visit http://pima-county-nrpr.eventbrite.com
Saturday, January 21, 6:30-8:30 p.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. Free. Online registration required.
Saturday, February 18, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Agua Caliente Park Winter Lecture Series
Sponsored by Friends of Agua Caliente. Check website for more information on presentations. $5 fee. Online registration required.
Saturdays, January 7, 21, and 28, February 4, 11*, 18, and 25 • 10:00-11:00 a.m.
(February 11 lecture delivered online via Zoom; all others held in person)

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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