javelina among cactus flowers

A Bit of Local Ecology

May 04, 2020

Tucson is surrounded by fascinating natural areas, and desert ecosystems are often more complex than they seem. We thought we’d share a bit about our immediate local ecology to provide an interesting context for your next visit.

Westward Look sits adjacent to the Pima Wash, and not far from the Pima Canyon trailhead. This is an excellent example of a desert riparian habitat. The canyon is located in the Santa Catalina Mountain range, and the trails within are part of the Coronado National Forest.

The canyon has a wet and dry season, and after rains when the creek is full, one can sometimes spot waterfalls. Lined with saguaro, the lower parts of the canyon include cottonwood trees which turn brilliant yellow in the fall.

Sonoran Big Horn Sheep live in this area, and from January through April hikers are actually restricted to the trail to accommodate for lambing season. The native sheep can sometimes be spotted along the rocky crags of the canyon.

Other commonly seen desert wildlife include jackrabbits and javelina—a unique peccary that resembles a wild boar.

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