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Catalina State Park, Tucson

4.7
#2 of 8 in Nature in Tucson
Expanding across the slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina State Park teems with trails that move through the dry desert and thick green brush. An equestrian center offers tours on horseback. You also can backpack and hike along well-maintained trails that are simple to follow. Temperatures are hot in the day and cool at night, so be sure to bring plenty of water and wear layers to adjust to changing temperatures in the 2,225 ha (5,500 acre) park. Use our Tucson trip planner to add Catalina State Park and other attractions to your Tucson vacation plans.
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Catalina State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
594 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This beautiful park has easy hiking loops as well as more difficult hikes. There is a 1 mile birding trail that is easy for younger kids. Horses often intersect on trails and everyone is polite. The v...  more »
  • While we just did a little hike here the views were great. Next time in Tucson will spend more time, perhaps summit the mountain... Life Is Good  more »
  • The scenic loop drive is well worth the trip over to the East side of Tucson. Scenic vistas, large saguaro and great hikes.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful place to view wildlife and escape busy Tucson. This location is an excellent birding location with dozens of species throughout the year. Hiking trails are well marked and parking lots have restrooms, picnic areas and places to refill water. The surrounding hills are covered in the giant Saguaro Cactus that bloom in May/June. This is my favorite location in Tucson to view the tiny Elf Owl about the size of a soda can (They live in the Saguaro and migrate from Mexico every year around May/June). You can also hike into the mountains (Tonto National Forest) (Catalina Wilderness) but be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to avoid dehydration.
  • I LOVE Catalina State Park. It's a great place to beat the AZ heat without going too far. There is really nice river access really close to the parking lot. Great for kids, but be careful, the water can be REALLY cold in the winter and spring. If you are thinking about the Romero pools trail, make sure you are fit enough for a difficult hike. It's 1-2hours each way, with lots of uphill stretches. Probably not a good hike for little kids. The pools are worth it though, and the views are spectacular
  • Most amazing place. Great hiking trails....great photo ops. Only draw back is no pump out at each site. 2 dumps on premises but would b better at each site. Overall.....wonderful!
  • Had a fantastic time taking a relaxed stroll. We originally planned to go on the birding trail but the maps they hand out are not completely accurate, so we ended up on a longer loop that was more in line with the amount of time we wanted to spend anyway. I recommend using Google Maps or another map service to get a better picture of the trails; that's what we ended up doing after realizing we weren't on the trail we originally intended to follow.
  • Absolutely LOVED our short time at Catalina State Park. It was a bit pricey for one night ($35) but well worth it! The bathrooms were clean and the other campers were very respectful of quiet hours (& we were there on a Friday night). The Saturday Nature Program was wonderful!! The creatures and rocks were neat to see up close and the volunteers were very knowledgeable. We only took the Romero Ruins Trail and a short bit of another trail but the views are absolutely gorgeous!! When you're there, it feels like you're away from the busy city so you wouldn't even realize that there is a walmart and restaurants just 5 minutes away. GREAT place!! more pics on our blog - Approved Adventures

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Where to stay in Tucson

To discover the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert, book your stay at an inn just a short drive from Tucson. Staying on the outskirts of the city allows you quick and easy access to some of Arizona's wildest areas, though it does require a car if you wish to enjoy Tucson's shops and restaurants. For the ultimate in indulgence, consider one of the city's award-winning luxury resorts, which feature full-service spa and fitness centers, championship golf courses, lighted tennis courts, and indoor swimming pools.
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