Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area

A frontward view of a Spanish-style church
San Xavier del Bac Mission National Historic Landmark on a cloudless day.

Photo Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance

Quick Facts
Southern Arizona; Pima and Santa Cruz Counties
Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area celebrates the region’s natural resources, rich history, and heritage shaped by generations of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cultures.
National Heritage Area

Designated by Congress in 2019, Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area (SCVNHA) recognizes the rich history, natural and cultural resources, and heritage of the Santa Cruz River watershed. The Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance is a non-profit local coordinating entity for the heritage area. It is an alliance of partners that includes local governments, non-profit organizations, and businesses that collaborate together in the region to further the mission of the heritage area.

SCVNHA is a unique and diverse watershed in the southwestern U.S. that encompasses a mosaic of cultures and history. Living together in this region are Native American tribes with ancient roots to the area, the descendants of Spanish settlers who colonized the valley in the late 1600s, Mexican families who settled the area before the 1854 Gadsden Purchase made it part of the United States, and current generations of late nineteenth-century American pioneers who ventured into this borderland seeking new beginnings. 

The SCVNHA supports community-led efforts to:  

  • Increase heritage and nature tourism and grow tourism-related economic impact 

  • Develop heritage education programs 

  • Promote local foods, crafts, and other traditional products 

  • Riparian restoration 

  • Rehabilitation of historic buildings 

  • Improve the quality of life for residents by instilling a sense of place 

The region has an abundance of well-preserved historic and archaeological resources associated with the rich multicultural history, along with spectacular natural, scenic, and outdoor recreational resources. From museums to national, state, and local parks to historical sites, the SCVNHA has something for everyone. 

Historic Sites and Points of Interest: 

Notable People:  

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, Saguaro National Park, Tumacácori National Historical Park

Last updated: August 16, 2023