Know About Oracle State Park?

In 2001, a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge and environmental center was named Oracle State Park. It is located about 20 miles north of Tucson, Arizona. I recently visited the park and was fascinated with its history.

In 1903, two Kannally brothers from Illinois purchased 160 acres of land here with one brother hoping the dry air would help his tuberculosis. Two sisters eventually join the brothers and with land purchases the ranch land expands to 50,000 acres. They built a unique Mediterranean and Moorish-style ranch house which can be toured when Covid-19 pandemic concerns ends and allows tours, but visitors can sit at the patio. Bird feeders on one end, view of Antelope Peak to the north, San Pedro River to the east and Mount Lemmon area to the south, yet the summit there is blocked by Apache Peak.

There are numerous trails to hike and/or mountain bike. All trails are very well signed. From the nature trail one can look back on the ranch house.

Midway on the 1.2 mile loop nature trail is an adobe wildlife viewing blind. The only activity at the water hole was in the tree where I watched 2 ravens build a nest. At one point a raven brought in a long twig and it took its time to problem-solve where to put it in place while it kept hitting other parts of the tree and branches.

Although much of the 50,000 acres were sold to Magma Copper Company in 1952, it was Lucille Kannally who willed 4,000 acres to a non-profit, Defenders of Wildlife. Lucille died in 1976. In 1985, Defenders of Wildlife transferred the ranch house and land to the state of Arizona founding a new state park in 2001. In November 2014, Oracle State Park became the World’s 20th International Dark Sky Park and the first AZ state park to receive that recognition!

As an environmental education center some areas are available for school groups. There are plenty of trails to hike and/or bike. A windmill is further out on the property and one of my future hiking destinations. I look forward to the day I can tour the ranch house too. It is wonderful to see the National Scenic Arizona Trail also passing through some of its land. Want to spend some time outdoors, check out this park!

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