Tumacacori National Historical Park in Arizona sits at the cultural crossroads in the Santa Cruz River valley.
Tumacácori National Historical Park
This area was populated with O'odham, Yaqui, and Apache people who met and mingled with European Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, settlers, and soldiers. Sometimes in history, there was cooperation and other times there was conflict.
The park gives you the opportunity to take a self-guided walk through the park grounds including the three-story abode church, grounds, and garden.
While we were exploring the park we saw roadrunners running around and amazing hummingbirds. This is a great birdwatching park.
This is a park that can be seen quickly or you can spend the entire afternoon exploring and checking it out. The main attraction of the park is the mission and museum. Both are easy to reach along a paved walkway. The inside of the mission does have a few stairs and an uneven pathways.
The entrance to the park is through the visitor center. You can't miss the gorgeous yellow building with an amazing ornate door. Once you enter the visitor center you can show your National Park Pass or pay the entrance fee. This is a great time to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet.
The visitor center has an amazing park store and easy access to restrooms, the gardens, and the path out to the Mission.
Make sure to check out the gorgeous gardens behind the visitor center. There is a lovely fountain perfect for relaxing next to. We sat for a while in the gardens and saw quite a few birds and hummingbirds.
The Mission is one of the main attractions within the park. While the Mission building is striking it is worth remembering that the Mission was only one part of the mission community. There were also classrooms, a cemetery, a mortuary chapel, an irrigation system, gardens, orchards, and grazing lands.
The front of the church would have been brightly painted with red columns and Egyptian-style capitals yellow with black markings.
There were no pews or side chapels within the church. When is use the were four side alters where devotional candles could be placed. Statues of Saints stood in the arches. When it was abandoned in 1848, local settlers removed the roof to re-use the timbers.
The sanctuary was protected by a domed ceiling made of fired adobes. You can see the remnants of original paint, picture frames, and stenciling.
Outside of the mission church is the cemetery. The cemetery records show nearly 600 burials between 1755 and 1825.
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historical Trail
A 4-mile portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connects Tumacácori with Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.
Junior Ranger Program
You can pick up a junior ranger program from the visitor center. It is a great way to learn more about the park and earn a fun Junior Ranger badge.
National Park Passport stamps for both Tumacacori NHP and Juan Bautista de Anza NHT can be found in the park store.
There are 2 other tumacácori missions that can only be visited on guided tours.
Things to know when planning a visit to Tumacacori NHP
Park Address: 1895 E Frontage Road, Tumacacori, AZ 85640, United States
Tumacácori National Historical Park is located off of Exit 29 of Interstate 19, forty-five miles (80 kilometers) south of Tucson, Arizona, and eighteen miles (26 kilometers) north of Nogales, Arizona.
Entrance Fee: $10 per person
Park Hours: open every day from 9 am to 5 pm
Cell Service: Cellular service is usually available in the visitor center and mission grounds, but may become spotty along the river corridor and Anza Trail.
WiFi: No public wifi access exists at Tumacácori.
National Park Service Website - https://www.nps.gov/tuma/index.htm
National Park Sites near Tumacacori National Historical Park
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Saguaro National Park
Check out all of the National Historical Parks managed by the NPS.