PLIA has visitor center stores at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and also at the Palisades Visitor Center and operates a sales outlet at the Sierra Vista Ranger District Office.
The 1.78 million-acre Coronado National Forest spreads across twelve widely scattered mountain ranges or "sky islands" that rise dramatically from the desert floor in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Sky Islands support an astonishing diversity of plant communities such as those one would encounter on a trip from Mexico to Canada. The Coronado is divided into five noncontiguous ranger districts each of which consists of several mountain ranges. Elevations range from 3,000 feet to 10,720 feet. The plant and wildlife communities of the Sky Islands are particularly susceptible to the effects of global warming: hotter, drier conditions drive animals—even plants—to seek cooler refuges, which in the Sky Islands means moving up a mountain. But as warming continues, even the tops of the Sky Islands will become too warm for many species.
The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and the Palisades Visitor Center are located in the Santa Catalina Mountains. At Sabino Canyon the lush riparian vegetation stands in sharp contrast to the saguaro-studded canyon walls. Palisades Visitor Center is located on Mount Lemmon; at 7,950 feet the Center is surrounded by a forest of ponderosa pine, spruce, and fir. Popular activities include hiking, biking.