Catalina State Park

Quick Facts

Catalina State Park

Arizona

(520) 628-5798

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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.

Park facilities include a campground, picnic tables, grills, trails, an equestrian center, a group use area for day or overnight use (available by reservation), restrooms, showers, and a gift shop. All restroom and shower facilities are accessible. The park also offers an equestrian center which provides a staging area for trail riders with ample trailer parking.

Don't have a horse? Pusch Ridge Stables is an equestrian concessionaire near the park that offers horse rides on designated trails on the north end of the park. Visit puschridgestables.com External Link for more information.

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 that call this area home.

Catalina State Park is located within Coronado National Forest, and is managed by Arizona State Parks in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.

Map of Catalina (AZ)

Latitude, Longitude: 32.438511, -110.933762

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Activities

  • Camping

    The park offers two group areas that can be reserved for overnight camping. There is a minimum number of 20 people required to reserve a group area. The maximum number for each area is 200 people. Each area features a 20X40 shade ramada, 20 picnic tables, two group BBQ grills, and a fire ring (bring your own wood).

    The two group areas share a modern flush restroom facility that includes hot showers. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance.

  • Hiking

    Hiking, horseback riding and bicycling on the trails are popular activities, with eight trails varying in length and difficulty. Leashed dogs are welcome on all trails. All trails are multi-use except Romero Ruin. Free trail guide available at Visitor Center.

    The Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail (3/4-mi.) meanders through the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam village site that is over a thousand years old.

    The mile-long Nature Trail offers beautiful vistas of the Sonoran Desert and Santa Catalina Mountains, with signs explaining the desert ecosystem and its inhabitants.

    The Romero Canyon Trail (7.2 mi.) and the Sutherland Trail (10.5 mi.) offer longer, more strenuous hikes through beautiful desert terrain and riparian canyons. Both climb to cool natural pools and connect with other Coronado National Forest trails which continue on to Mount Lemmon at the top of the Catalina Mountains.

    The Canyon Loop Trail (2.3 mi.) is representative of the various habitat types found in the park.

    The 50-Year Trail (7.8 mi.) is popular with equestrians and mountain-bikers.

    The Birding Trail (1 mi.) offers hikers a chance to see some of the park's 170+ species of birds in three different types of habitats.

    The Bridle Trail (1.4 mi) is the only completely flat trail in the park, connecting the Equestrian Center with the main trail head.

  • Historic Sites

    Tours may be available; please contact park services for more information.

  • Horseback Riding

    An equestrian staging and camping area is available for visitors who trailer their own livestock into the park. Stock can be off-loaded for day rides, or riders can camp with their animals. Eight pens are available first-come, first-served (no charge for pens). Picnic tables, BBQ grills, a restroom, and drinking water are available. All park trails are open to horses except Romero Ruin Trail. Horses or stock animals are not permitted on the Nature Trail, Birding Trail, and Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail, or in picnic/camping areas or on paved roads.

    Don't have a horse? Pusch Ridge Stables is an equestrian concessionaire near the park that offers horse rides on designated trails on the north end of the park.

  • Picnicking

    The picnic area features picnic tables, BBQ grills, and a modern flush restroom. and one 20x40' shade ramada.

    A 20x40' Ramada is now reservable! It has two grills and 10 picnic tables. It is only for day use (5 am - 10 pm); no camping or wood fires are allowed (wood fires are allowed in the group area).

Seasonality/Weather

Catalina State Park is open all year, but is best enjoyed from October through May. The summer months of June through September are generally quite warm. During the fall, winter and spring months, daytime temperatures are mild with highs between 50 and 70 degrees. Overnight lows in January and February are below freezing, and occasionally drop into the teens. As is typical in the desert, a 40-degree swing between the daily low and high is not uncommon in winter. Daily high-low temperature swings during the summer months are not as extreme, with lows near 80 degrees and highs around 100 degrees. Rainfall is generally sporadic most of the year, but there is a rainy period July through September during which there are thunderstorms at least several times each week. Winter snowfall is very rare.

October through May is excellent weather for all types of outdoor activity because of the mild temperatures. Wildlife viewing is also best during the cooler months, as desert creatures are less active in the daytime heat of summer. Physical activities like hiking and bicycling should be confined to the very early morning during summer to avoid possible overheating and dehydration. Plan your wildflower viewing during March and April, but keep in mind that bloom quality can vary a great deal from year to year based upon winter rainfall.

Directions

Driving

The park is located on State Hwy. 77 (Oracle Road) at mile marker 81, just 9 miles north of Tucson and 6 miles north of Ina Road.

Flying

Closest airport is Tucson.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(520) 628-5798

Links