El Rio Open Space Preserve

El Rio Open Space Preserve

North Coachline Boulevard Tucson, Arizona 85743

Official Website

About this Location

The El Rio Open Space Preserve, also known as the Coachline Gravel Pits, are publicly accessible gravel pits bounded by the Tucson Mountains and the Santa Cruz River, and owned by the Town of Marana. Tucson Audubon has worked on a riparian restoration project here, planting native vegetation, and it is on an Important Bird Area survey route. During rainstorms, the gravel pit fills with water, stays wet for months, and becomes a great spot to easily view waterfowl and shorebirds. Some birds encountered here have included Belted Kingfisher, Pied-billed Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Great Blue Heron, several duck species, Black-necked Stilt, and more. Even when the pond is dry, there are interesting birds to see. During summer, Bell’s Vireos nest in the tamarisk. Gilded Flicker, Lazuli Bunting, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunner, Peregrine Falcon, an Eastern Phoebe, and other species have been sighted. Take the Twin Peaks exit from I-10, go west and turn north onto Coachline Road. Drive past W. Oak Stream Road, and in approximately 0.15 miles turn right onto a dirt road; follow it a short distance to a parking area.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Roadside viewing

  • Entrance fee

Content from Tucson Audubon Society

Last updated February 8, 2023