Community Demographics

By the 17th century Father Kino named the river Santa Cruz which means “Sacred Cross” in Spanish. The length of the Santa Cruz River is approximately 184 miles (296 km) long. The river flows southward from the San Rafael Valley to Mexico then reenters the United States just east of Nogales, Arizona. The Santa Cruz River continues northward from the international border, parallel to the I-19 corridor, past Rio Rico, Tumacacori, Tubac, Green Valley, Sahuarita, Tucson, Marana, and Picacho Peak. The Santa Cruz River goes underground south of Casa Grande and meets with the Gila River. 

Between Nogales and Tucson the river valley is flanked by the San Cayetano and Santa Rita Mountains on the east and the Atascosa, Tumacacori, and Sierrita Mountains on the west. Most of the Santa Cruz River is usually a dry riverbed, unless the area receives significant rainfall. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail parallels much of the Santa Cruz.