Orchard and Inn
We’ll be your base camp for adventures ranging from mild to wild. Set up your easel in our orchard and capture the floating clouds or relax poolside with a freshly squeezed grapefruit cocktail and read up on the Apache warriors who roamed these very parts. Alternatively, set off for a day of vigorous hiking, birding or off-road adventure with a farm-packed picnic lunch. Be sure to refer to hiking the canyon for rules and restrictions about hiking and camping in the Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve, the entrance to which is located just three miles east of Aravaipa Farms.
Nourished by the Arizona sunshine and well water derived from the spring-fed creek that transects our land, the original orchard was planted some 50 years ago by landowner, Bill Farney. Our mature orchard produces two types of Asian Pears, Hasu and Ya-li. You’ll see them growing at the orchard’s south end. The orchard’s north side bears apricots, peaches, kumquats and apples. Elsewhere on our grounds, you’ll find trees dripping with navel oranges, Valencia oranges, tangelos, pink and ruby red grapefruits, Meyer lemons, Lisbon lemons, mandarins, Mexican limes, Mission figs, golden figs and pomegranates.
Please ask before you pick. We will let you know what’s ripe and how much you are welcome to take home with you. Aravaipa Farms occasionally hosts Bushel Days where non-guests of the Inn are invited to pick their own fruits and pay by the pound. Look for our produce sold alongside Sleeping Frog Farms’ at select farmers markets in Tucson, including Heirloom Farmers Market at Rillito Park (Sundays), Food in Root Market at St. Philips (seasonally on Sundays) and Food Bank Market at San Augustine’s Plaza (Thursdays).
The narrow, winding canyon chiseled by Aravaipa Creek, lined with lush, riparian habitat, offers some of the most spectacular and remote scenery found in Arizona. Roughly 120 miles southeast of Phoenix, Aravaipa Creek meanders through private and federal land within Graham and Pinal counties. A total of 69,600 acres surrounds this perennial stream, including the 19,700-acre Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area, administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the 9,000-acre Aravaipa Canyon Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
Hiking the Canyon
There are numerous hikes in the area, but serious hikers will enjoy the Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Nature Conservancy’s Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve—located three miles up the creek from the Inn. The BLM allows only 30 people (from the west entrance) a day to hike the 12 miles of canyon from one end of the preserve to the other.
For amateur and serious “birders” alike, Aravaipa is a birdwatchers’ paradise, earning the designation by the American Bird Conservancy as the best birding in the country. You need not even leave the comfort of your patio to observe a great variety of birds.
Species of birds
The great blue heron has several colonies living along Aravaipa year round and can be seen almost daily. Rare raptors such as Mississippi kites and a variety of hawks including the zone-tailed, gray and black hawks are seen at various times throughout the year. Numerous colorful migrating birds stop at Aravaipa Farms on their way to their ultimate destinations, including bright red cardinals. Hummingbirds dart in and out all day long, feeding on the nectar of the saguaros and flowering desert plants. Whimsical bird houses made from the creek’s natural materials hang throughout the property, along with hummingbird feeders beckoning these little creatures to visit.
For a thorough description of the birds you’re likely to spot during the time that you are here, as well as safe birding tips, we offer the following link to helpful information published by the Tucson Audubon Society.
Wildlife in Aravaipa Canyon
Aravaipa Canyon boasts the greatest diversity of vertebrates in the U.S. and the second highest land-mammal diversity in the world. As a guest of Aravaipa Farms, you can watch for abundant wildlife and many endangered species from your patio. In the nearby vicinity, scientists have recorded 100 butterfly species and 47 amphibians and reptiles.
Common creatures you may see include: Sonoran Desert Toads during the summer at dusk when they come out from underground burrows to feed on insects and beetles. They are harmless, comical characters and come in all sizes hopping across the patios. The Sonoran Mud Turtle sometimes appears to be a moving rock in the creek. During the rainy desert season (July–Sept), Desert Tortoises can be seen lumbering across the landscape in early mornings. Lizards of every variety, color and shape can be found in Aravaipa. The coyote is without a doubt the most famous desert animal. You will find herds of javelina and their young. You may also be lucky enough to spot Desert Cottontails, jackrabbits, squirrels and chipmunks.