Step back in time and explore this 19th-century Franciscan mission, built under the guidance of a master mason by American Indian and Spanish laborers. Constructed of adobe bricks and plaster, then decorated with crushed brick, San José de Tumacácori was never fully completed, yet remains a striking landmark within Tumacácori National Historical Park and worth your time to explore.
Father Kino arrived here and established Tumacácori as a mission in January 1691, making it the oldest mission site in Arizona. Originally known as San Cayetano de Tumacácori, the mission was moved to its present site after the Pima rebellion of 1751 and was renamed San José de Tumacácori. The Franciscans began construction of the church in 1800, intending it to mimic the famous Mission San Xavier del Bac near Tucson. Difficulties with funding halted the construction process several times. The bell tower was never capped with its dome, but the building was otherwise completed after years of work.
You’ll enter the park through the visitor center. It’s staffed by National Park Service employees and volunteers, who are happy to provide orientation and information. There’s a 14-minute video, and visitors can purchase or borrow a self-guiding tour book for the Tumacácori Mission grounds, or guided tours are available January – March. Enjoy the beautiful mission, preserved just as it was when the Franciscans left the area.
Hiking is very popular on the Juan Batista de Anza National Historic Trail as well as bird watching and horseback riding. The trail passes through the park, so it’s a convenient option once you’re here.
Located 45 miles south of Tucson and 18 miles north of Nogales, there’s a tremendous variety of accommodation options, from hotels and motels to inns, bed and breakfasts, and upscale resorts. Whichever direction you go after visiting the mission, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest your head.
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Park Entrance Fees:
Tumacácori National Historical Park
PO Box 8067
Tumacacori, AZ 85640