Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is a beautiful, easy to access desert park located at the base of the western end of the Santa Catalina Mountains, in the Coronado National Forest in Oro Valley, AZ.  For both locals and visitors alike, it’s a popular destination due to the proximity to Tucson, yet the feeling of being able to truly get away into the desert.

There are many miles of trails for all sorts of activities, from hiking to biking, equestrian trails and great spots for birding or simply enjoying a picnic.  The entire park spans over 5,500 acres and sits at roughly 3,000 feet in elevation and is full of all kinds of wildlife and desert vegetation, including thousands of majestic saguaros.

For those that want to do more than a day trip here, there is also the opportunity to camp, including over 100 gravel sites that can be used by both tents and RVs up to 43 feet long.  The current overnight rate is $30 with a maximum stay of 14 days.

One of the more popular hikes that is ranked intermediate to advanced is the Sutherland Trail which ranges from 10 to 17 miles in all. It starts off fairly gentle for the first 2 plus miles, but after that you’re in for a more challenging hike.  One thing to note if you choose this hike is that unfortunately, dogs are not allowed. While leashed dogs are allowed in Catalina State Park, this trail winds in and out of the Coronado National Forest, which restricts dogs due to protections in place for the desert bighorn sheep.

The park is highly rated by not only day users, but by RV-ers as well, as can be seen by many of the reviews left by happy visitors. For example, “TinPueblo”, an avid Airstream camper said, “Catalina State Park offers many outdoor activities for hikers, campers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, and equestrians. There are plenty of RV sites all with water and electric with great views of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The trailheads are a good walking distance from the campsites and there are plenty of options for each hiking level. You’ll see plenty of giant saguaros and cacti along your hike, we took the Romero Canyon Trail where the creek was roaring with all the melted snow off the Catalinas. Tucson/Oro Valley is very accessible, but you would never know since this park feels very secluded from the city.”

Another visitor originating from South Dakota going by the handle “LovingTheRVLife” said, “We really enjoyed Catalina State Park. The views of the Santa Catalina Mountains are so beautiful any time o the day. Also the star viewing is excellent. Sites have 50 amp electric/water for $30 a night. There are also some non-electric sites. Their sites are level asphalt and roomy! While there we had 2 bars AT&T 5GE. There is free WiFi but it gets overloaded in the evenings. The OTA channels were CBS/NBC/Fox from Tucson – no ABC signal. The shower building had tiled showers which had nice hot water. There was a hiking trail right from the campground and a trailhead about a mile awhile which had lots of trails to choose from. We really enjoyed the Romero Pools trail. Just one mile away is a super Walmart, shopping, restaurants and a movie theatre!”

As you can see, Catalina State Park has a lot to offer and is readily available to all.  If you would like to visit, it can be found at 11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737

Driving Directions:

More things to do nearby include Honey Bee Canyon Park

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