Want to know the best national park getaway when you’re looking to escape winter’s cold grasp?
Head to Under Canvas Tucson, a glamping experience located at the base of the Rincon Mountains on Tanque Verde Ranch, a historic ranch that rolls right up to Saguaro National Park. Perched on a hill overlooking Tucson and the national park, Under Canvas’ luxurious tented camp enables you to soak up the sun by a gorgeous pool, hit the trails by horseback or mountain bike or play a game of tennis— all without ever leaving the stunning ranch property, which was established in 1868.
“I think it has the best views of Tucson, and I’ve worked at five-star resorts here” says Mitchell James, general manager of Under Canvas Tucson. “I think we beat them all with 360-degree views of Tucson. We see amazing sunrises and sunsets.”
At the Under Canvas camp, which is open from Oct. 3, 2019 - May 25, 2020, you can choose from a variety of tents, depending on your group size. The camp caters to families, couples and independent travelers. All tents include beds with luxurious linens. Some feature private showers and flushing toilets in the tent while others are situated a short walk from communal bathrooms and showers.
Because the ranch sits alongside Saguaro National Park, you can actually walk from your tent into the national park via a spur trail that connects with the Douglas Spring trailhead in the park. There is no pay station via this trail, so be sure to bring your park pass. Park rangers do patrol this trail. If you’re interested in exploring more of the park, you can drive 15 minutes to its East Entrance.
While Tanque Verde Ranch is a working cattle and dude ranch with its own lodging, Under Canvas guests get to take advantage of all the amenities the ranch offers. Almost everything is within a five-minute walk away, but guests can request a golf cart 24 hours a day to take them around the ranch for activities, including kids camps and dining. The ranch’s restaurant serves gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then there’s The Dog House, a saloon with indoor/outdoor seating serving local craft beers and its famous prickly pear margaritas.
But don’t miss experiencing Tucson’s food scene off the ranch, as well. In 2016, UNESCO named it a “City of Gastronomy,” the first in the U.S. to earn the title, based on its multicultural food and agricultural roots that extend 4,000 years back to the O’odham people who once grew tepary beans and maize in the area. A popular destination today is Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails run by chef Janos Wilder, James Beard Award winner, who uses a network of local gardeners and farmers for his dishes.
Amid this vibrant food scene, the outdoor opportunities and Under Canvas’ incredible glamping amenities, it’s difficult not to be totally mesmerized by Tucson. Its spectacular natural beauty may be one of its best-kept secrets.
“Tucson has one of the most underrated nature scenes in the country,” James says. “People are so surprised by how many mountain ranges are within 20 miles of us. You could visit a new mountain range [one of five surrounding the Tucson valley] and hike different trails for months from Mount Lemmon to Picacho Peak.”
For more information:
14301 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85748