There are countless reasons why we should be thankful to live in Southern Arizona. Near the top of my list are the abundant, beautiful and accessible hiking trails in Marana’s Tortolita Mountains.

I’ve been a hiker for more than 20 years and I try to go on 6- to 8-mile treks at least twice a week. The good people at Dove Mountain and The Highlands at Dove Mountain hiking clubs are kind enough to let me join them sometimes when they go out. I also enjoy showing newcomers the scenic beauty that exists in our community.

I became involved in hiking because my family has a history of heart disease. The health benefits that result from a nice hike are long-lasting, especially if you make it a part of your lifestyle. There are few things more satisfying than time outdoors. Resting on a rock several times larger than your house puts life in perspective. 

Of course, hiking is a chance to experience and appreciate nature. I’ve seen bobcats, coyotes, javelina, foxes, box turtles, wild horses, gila monsters, deer and most any color flower you could imagine. The wildlife, wide-open spaces and beautiful mountains are proof that the Sonoran Desert is always alive.

People come from across the globe to explore our trails. I’ve met folks from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan and Mexico and I’ve handed out plenty of our Town’s trail maps. Many of the people were guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, which sits less than a mile from the Wild Burro Trailhead. Developer Cottonwood Properties and the Ritz-Carlton were kind enough to set aside space on the grounds for our trailhead, which greets thousands of hikers every year.

Our Parks and Recreation Department is dedicated to these incredible trails and keeps them in fantastic condition. It’s all part of the Town’s pledge to provide quality recreational activities for all who live and visit here. In fact, the next issue of About Town, our quarterly e-newsletter, is a comprehensive guide to hiking the Tortolitas.

Once you read About Town and hit the trails, please take your family or go with a friend. Everyone deserves the opportunity to see some of the many natural wonders that exist in our back yard. Once you hike the Tortolitas, you’ll want to keep going back. Just like me.

For information on the Town’s free guided hiking program and to sign up for About Town, please visit

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