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Catalina State Park
Ranked #10 of 301 things to do in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
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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 January 18, 2014

A great place to hike. would come back again, Check out the different trails on line to decide where you want to hike. Picnic areas and some areas pets are not allowed in so check it out ahead of time.

Thank jomoma88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (582)
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407 - 411 of 582 reviews

Reviewed January 12, 2014

Saguaros and more saguaros! Along with other native plants, lots of cool birds, wonderful trails and scenery.

Thank Kimbolina55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

This is a nice state park for hiking. The trails are well used by hikers, dogs and horses. If you trail a horse, there is an area dedicated to horse-trailers about half-way into the park. At the end of the park road, there's a nice area with a small store where you can buy drinks, snacks and t-shirts. In this same locale, there are several picnic tables under trees, water and rest-rooms.
We hiked Romero Canyon Trail and Canyon Loop Trail on different days. Romero Canyon Trail is a beautiful hike, but it is rugged. I've hiked for a few years and this hike left me sore the next couple of days. There's quite an elevation change and the hike (according to my GPS) is a little longer than the trail map indicates. Plan on spending most of the day on this trail.
On our next visit, we hiked Canyon Loop Trail. This was a great little hike with some beautiful views of the mountains, cactii and one of the mountain streams. There are a few places where you will have to cross the stream and a couple of places where there are steps (they beat some of rocky trails). Allow a couple of hours for this hike.

2  Thank FrequentTraveler696
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2013

Our teenager just isn't into hiking, so I was sure surprised when she said she wanted to do this! We hiked the Canyon Loop Trail with an almost guarantee to see plenty of running water; we then hiked to the nearest pools after that. The ranger at the station as we drove in was very helpful and highlighted this best route for us on a map he provided. Never saw any animals other than birds, but the plants and cacti are just amazing, especially for our northern WI kids to see! Brought a big bottle of water even though it was later afternoon. We had plenty of space on the trail to walk side by side without getting poked by a cactus. Brought regular camera to use the self timer function. Lots of running water with streams we could cross by stepping on rocks! The kids loved to see the real desert!

1  Thank CozumeLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2013

We've been doing a lot of hiking in the Tucson area, and Catalina State Park is a favored destination when we hike with our dog-owning friends. There are a variety of trails in the park that support people, dogs, horses, and mountain bikes. The horse facilities are great, and there is a campground within the park.

The trails vary quite a bit. There are challenging trails up the mountainsides, but also a nice creekside tour. Most of the trails include some moderate grades. I'd recommend the trail to the Romero ruins. There is a fairly steep but short hike to the top at the beginning, then a flat area where you can explore the stone outlines of early settler homes. There is also a nice display of the grounds occupied by Native Americans.

The creekside tour is also nice, particularly in late fall (ie mid December) as the trees are most colorful. I'd recommend taking this hike counter clockwise as the easier climb and also to enjoy the creek for the end of the hike.

There is a fee for entry to the park. There are also restrictions on areas you can visit as the park attempts to repopulate the bighorn sheep population. The rangers and docents at the park entrance will provide a map outlining restricted areas.

2  Thank Robert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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