Entertainment Magazine: Arizona: Tucson
Gates Pass– Gateway to Tucson's Sunset
of Tucson, along Speedway in the Tucson Mountains, is the popular
sightseeing area of Gates Pass.
Well known as the best sunset viewing
site (and date spot), Gates Pass is one of the best vantage points to
watch the sun drop out of sight in the Tucson area.
provides areas for picnicking, trails for hiking, wildlife observation,
nature studies and camping. A visible trail head winds around the
mountains. Natural desert vegetation of saguaro cacti, brush and other
native cactus surrounds the area.
This section of Tucson Entertainment Magazine explores Gates Pass Tucson with photos by local photographers and hiking tips.
Explore the legends and history of the Santa Catalina Mountains
Read chapters and DOWNLOAD FREE SAMPLE PDF of "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains"
Amazing Sunsets at Gates Pass
sunsets with vivid orange and yellows dance across the sky as the sun
slowly sets each night at Gates Pass. There is no better vantage point,
other than Mount Lemmon, to see such a brilliant sunset. See more sunsets at Gates Pass.
Products on Gates Pass
Tucson Hiking Guide Author:
Betty Leavengood. The best guide to the Tucson, Rincon, Santa Catalina,
and Santa Rita Mountains completely revised. This third edition
includes: 37 hikes rated easy to difficult by mountain range; revised
information on precautions for desert hiking; historical notes,
photographs, and anecdotes; and detailed maps and descriptions with
Directions to Gates Pass
Scenic drive from Tucson
As a public stop off
point to climb the mountains and view the scene over the valley, Gates
Pass is the bridge between Tucson and the Saguaro National Park. From
there, Kinney Road winds around the Tucson Mountains.
to Gates Pass from Tucson is easy. Drive west on Speedway. After
passing North Camino de Oeste, West Gates Pass Road begins. Follow until
you see the sign on your right to turn right.
Cars can pull off the main road and park close to the hiking or viewing spots.
Once parked, take a
short hike along the dirt path towards the sunset. Be courteous to
others who have already made their perch. Dozens of people gather to
watch the sunset everyday. It gets very crowded on Friday and Saturday
nights. If you continue to drive west, the road takes a narrow turn
along a winding road to Tucson Mountain Park, down the mountain towards Old Tucson and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Print out a map of Gates Pass and examine closely the hills, trails and parking areas.
Driving the Pass
Pass is one of the most dangerous areas to drive around Tucson. The
road is narrow and winds around the edge of a large mountain with just a
few feet space between the edge of the road and a deep drop off to the
Because of this driving danger, Gates Pass is not open to commercial and large vehicles over 40-50 feet long.
While it is a
shorter drive to reach Old Tucson and the Desert Museum, many people
choose to take the Ajo Road to Kinney Road route to avoid the steep
driving conditions.To get the best sitting spot, it is advised to park
no later than an hour before the sunset. Parking spots at Gates Pass are
limited and fill up fast. Parking is not allowed on the sides of the
History of Gates Pass
In 1883, Thomas
Gates built a road through the pass between the Tucson valley and the
other side of the Tucson Mountains as a shortcut. The other route is south of the Tucson Mountains along today's Ajo Road.
Thomas Gates was a local Tucson pioneer, saloon and ranch keeper. Gates purchased the land to build the road. Wikipedia: Gates Pass.
Biking Gates Pass Loop
Another popular use
for Gates Pass is the bike ride from Tucson to the entrance and back.
Traffic is often heaviest around the Gates Pass ascent. Early Saturday
and Sunday mornings are often the lightest traffic days.