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“A great place to hike or picnic”

Catalina State Park
Ranked #13 of 315 things to do in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Catalina State Park sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. The 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons and streams invites camping, picnicking and bird watching — more than 150 species of birds call the park home. The park provides miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails which wind through the park and into the Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3,000 feet. The park is located within minutes of the Tucson metropolitan area. This scenic desert park also offers equestrian trails and an equestrian center provides a staging area for trail riders with plenty of trailer parking. Bring along your curiosity and your sense of adventure as you take in the beautiful mountain backdrop, desert wildflowers, cacti and wildlife.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Reviewed November 10, 2013 via mobile

We have lived in Tucson our entire lives and still love visiting Catalina State Park. Some trails are more difficult than others but there is a lot to choose from. Plenty of restrooms and picnic places at the trailhead.

Thank Linzie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"romero pools"
in 81 reviews
"canyon loop trail"
in 27 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 42 reviews
"great hiking"
in 31 reviews
"oro valley"
in 20 reviews
"oracle road"
in 10 reviews
"great place to hike"
in 14 reviews
"elevation gain"
in 9 reviews
"well marked trails"
in 8 reviews
"day hike"
in 8 reviews
"nice hike"
in 12 reviews
"easy hike"
in 10 reviews
"big horn sheep"
in 7 reviews
"desert scenery"
in 8 reviews
"short hike"
in 8 reviews
"lots of water"
in 8 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 10 reviews
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476 - 480 of 636 reviews

Reviewed October 30, 2013

paid $7 to get in park. Picnic areas were weak. Not enough covered tables or tables under trees. Did not hike although that looked like a good experience.

1  Thank Jeanne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2013

My wife and I really enjoyed hiking in Catalina State Park while were visiting Tucson. We took the Canyon Loop trail. This trail initially climbed up the hill to some great views. On the last part of the hike, it dropped down into the canyon where it was cool with lots of vegetation. We planned to go back during our visit, but there some many other interesting things to do.

Thank Bob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

I've lived in Tucson for 10 years and this is a park I have visited consistently at least once or twice a year throughout that time, and I've always found something different to do or explore when I go.

I have gone mountain biking on the 50-year trail and really love it. It's a bit steep at first (to get up onto the ridge that you ride along) but then it's really fun, not too technical or challenging (for me, anyway, a casual, but experienced 40+ y.o. ameteur) singletrack. If you like, you can extend the ride beyond the park boundary into Golder Ranch, and the scenery changes here from being atop a rocky desert ridge, to riding amid rolling, green (from prickly pear) hills.

I have also hiked within the park, mostly to and then beyond Romero Pools. I've never been there when the pools were filled, but that says more about the time of year I've hiked there. Beyond the pools, though, is some really great terrain. It gets much quieter (read: less people) and greener (read: trees) as you progress past the pools in to the upper reaches of the canyon. I've never taken the trail to the top of Mt. Lemmon, but I know it's possible.

I've also taken my kids to Catalina park a couple of times recently. One time, there was a special event that was about desert reptiles, spiders, and snakes. The kids really loved looking a the animals, and some were even out of their cages handled by their expert owners. The Golder Ranch Fire Department was there that day, too, and they not only brought several trucks to talk about, but also they set up a zip line between 2 trees that they allowed both kids and adults to ride on.

Our latest trip was very recent (early October 2013) and we hiked the nature loop. The kids loved climbing on the boulders along the trail, and they also loved the animal tracks and placards explaining what kind of animal they came from. The scenery along the nature loop is really great, as you have a great view of the towering mountains and hillsides all around.

We've also been camping at the park a couple of times, and the campground is very nice. It's been a while so I don't recall many details about either of our camping experiences, other than to say it was pretty cold both times. Our first trip was around Christmas-time, and our second was some time in November. Since I live in Tucson, I know that both of these cold weather experiences were exceptions to the rule. It's usually mild to blazing hot here, and the nighttime temperatures are typically 20 to 30 degrees below the daytime high. On our 2 camping trips to the park, we just happened to pick days that were rather cold.

1  Thank Steve_In_Tucson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 20, 2013

since all the national parks and forest lands were closed, we went to Catalina State Park. Great choice! Hiking was great and gave us a good taste of desert scenery and plant life. The staff was fantastic and seemed very pleased to have us visit the park. Because of this we visited several other state parks during our trip through Arizona. Beautiful state!

Thank Tasha1802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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