Arizona's state parks are well-known for their beauty, cleanliness, and friendliness. Campers, hikers, and RVers travel from near and far to experience the incredible scenery and coveted tranquility of the Arizona wilderness.
Catalina State Park, located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in northwest Tucson, is one such destination. The park draws visitors due to its immaculate campgrounds, interesting hikes, towering saguaros, and equestrian trails.
Never been to Catalina State Park? This guide will provide everything you need to know to camp or hike with family and friends.
Catalina State Park is located in northwest Tucson at 11570 N. Oracle Road.
The cost is $7 per vehicle (maximum of 4 adults in the car) or $3.00 per individual (if you are arriving on foot or bicycle).
No. That is a pass for national parks.
Catalina State Park is open 24 hours to accommodate camping. There is an Iron Ranger that accepts day use and camping fees after hours.
Most people visit Catalina State Park to hike, bike, or horseback ride on one of the eight available trails - or to camp overnight when the weather is nice.
It depends on the time of day or night, the season, and the amount of people at the park. It is possible - but not particularly likely - that you will see rabbits, squirrels, bats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, javelinas, lizard, gopher snakes, garter snakes, rattlesnakes, toads, tortoises, and mountain lions.
Yes. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center, as well as at six other spots around the park.
Note: Flush restrooms are available in the visitor center, picnic area, group areas, and campgrounds. Waterless restrooms are available at the trailhead and equestrian center.
Yes. Leashed dogs are welcome on all trails. That being said, it is not recommended that you and/or your pet hike when the temperature is over 100 degrees.
Wildflowers typically start blooming in mid- to late February and continue through the beginning of March. You can see bladderpods, brittlebush, Mexican poppies, chuparosa, globemallow, and other various cacti species.
No. You'll have to enjoy and/or photograph the beauty on-site. Removing natural rocks, vegetation, native wood, or public property is prohibited.
The best months for hiking and camping are October, November, December, January, February, March, or April when daytime temperatures typically range between 65-86 degrees.
That being said, the "shoulder months" (September and May) can also be quite pleasant if you check the weather ahead of time.
June, July, and August tend to be unbearably hot with temperatures sometimes hitting at or above 100 degrees.
There are eight hiking trails at Catalina State Park. We have listed them in order from shortest to longest in distance.
Yes. The Picnic Area has two BBQ grills, a modern flush restroom, and one 20x40' shade ramada (which features ten picnic tables and two grills). Day use hours are 5:00am-10:00pm. The Picnic Area is not available for use or rent between 10:00pm and 5:00am. The reservation fee is $35, plus the day use entrance fee of $7 per vehicle. Recommended for 15-50 people.
Call the park at (520) 628-5798 with questions or to make reservations.
Located at the park entrance, The Visitor Center is typically open between 8:00am and 5:00pm. At this center, you can pay entrance fees, purchase a souvenir or snack at the gift shop, and/or use the restrooms.
A second gift shop is open seasonally near the bathrooms at the trailhead.
Yes! Kids, who are between the ages of 6 and 12, are eligible to become a Junior Ranger at Catalina State Park. Stop by the Visitor Center, Ranger Station, or Office to ask for a complimentary Junior Ranger booklet. Complete the activities during your visit and then bring it to a Park Ranger for review. When a Park Ranger approves your work, you'll be asked to take the Junior Ranger Pledge and get sworn in as our newest Junior Ranger. You'll also be given a Junior Ranger Button.
What ages are best suited for each hiking trail?
The Romero Ruins Interpretive Trail, Nature Trail, and Birding Trail are ideal for the very youngest hikers since they are all relatively easy loops, one mile or less.
The Canyon Loop Trail and Romero Canyon Trail are great for elementary age children, teens, and adults.
* Before you go hiking, be sure to stop at the restrooms as they may not be accessible once you set out from the trailhead.
Catalina State Park has a total of 120 electric and water sites for both tent and RV camping. There are two campgrounds: Campground A and Campground B. All sites are suitable for either RVs or tents. Because of the popularity of campgrounds at Catalina State Park, camping is limited to 14 nights in a 30-day period.
A Loop has 48 sites, B Loop has 72. B Loop is newer and has access to the 50-Year and Bridle Trails.
Sites are paved, fairly level, and located in a natural Sonoran Desert setting (ie plenty of sunshine and lots of cactus). Each site has its own picnic table and barbecue grill.
Wood fires are never permitted in Campground A or B. Charcoal, propane, and synthetic wood (e.g., Duraflame logs) fires are allowed.
* Wood fires are allowed in designated overnight group areas and the Equestrian center only.
All sites offer water and electric. Sewer hook-ups are not available.
There are two RV dump stations at Catalina State Park. Use of the dump stations is included in the price for camping.
If you are passing through the area and need to use the dump station, the fee is $15.
Yes, but note that generator use is only permitted between 8:00am and 8:00pm.
Yes. Quiet hours are from 10:00pm to 7:00am. Please be respectful to your neighbors and keep noise to a minimum within this timeframe.
There is no maximum RV length.
Campground check-in is at 2:00pm. Check-out is at 12:00pm (noon).
Yes. There are two modern, handicapped-accessible restroom and shower buildings (with hot showers!), which are available at no additional charge for campers. One is in Campground A; the other is in Campground B.
There can be no more than six adults and 10 people total per site. Only one motorhome/RV can be at each site.
Yes, but note that there is a per night fee for second vehicles. The fee must be paid upon arrival at the park. The fee does not apply to vehicles towed behind a primary vehicle when the primary vehicle remains at the site and the towed vehicle is used for transportation.
It depends on the season and the fire danger level. Be sure to call the park ahead of time to see if any restrictions are currently in place.
Yes! A Walmart Supercenter is directly across the street (about 1.6 miles from the park entrance) and Safeway is just over three miles away.
The best option, however, is to come to the campground well-stocked with food and other supplies. Plan meals ahead of time and bring snacks, water bottles, and other treats with you.
WiFi is free, but only available in the B Loop area. However, this is temporarily out of service.
Pack as you would for any other hiking and camping adventure in the Sonoran Desert.
Here is a list to get you started:
Call the Reservation Center between 8:00am and 5:00pm at 877-697-2757. You may also reserve campsites online.
There are four group camping sites at Catalina State Park, which are available by reservation only. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance by calling the park directly.
Yes! You can have your wedding at Catalina State Park! Your first step? Download a Wedding Packet and Wedding Pre-Application. Next, call the park directly to inquire about reservation dates, amenities, and fees.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you go: