South of Tucson in Tubac, Arizona, San Cayetano de Tumacácori is a Spanish mission founded in 1691 by Padre Kino and abandoned in 1848. It became a National Monument in 1908 when it was restored to its ruined state based on photographs dating from 1868. Two additional mission ruins were added when it became a National Historical Park in 1990, but they are not open to the public except on special ranger-led tours January through March.
Historic mission, historic museum (built in 1937)
Jesuits, like the famous Padre Eusebio Kino, established more than 20 missions in this part of the Sonoran Desert in the late-1600s. Some of the Pimas they were “serving” attacked in 1751, leading to the move of Tumacácori to its current location and the establishment of Tubac Presidio (now a State Park). Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821 and the final phase of construction on the mission began two years later. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase brought this region into the United States of America. When you visit the ruins of Tumacácori, consider a trip north to beautiful San Xavier del Bac, which is still an active church.
A 4-mile portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connects Tumacácori with Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, which offers a museum and an underground archaeological display.
At the end of the day in the winter months, trees surrounding the mission cast interesting shadows on its stucco walls.
$7 per person or America the Beautiful pass
All roads paved
Patagonia Lake State Park has more than 200 campsites northeast of Nogales, Arizona.
Explore More – Why was the Jesuit order expelled in 1767 and their missions assigned to Franciscan friars?