You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

State of Arizona Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Tuscon & Southern Region
Catalina State Park
start slideshow
Catalina State Park © Suzanne Horst
Catalina State Park © Suzanne Horst
Catalina State Park © Suzanne Horst
Catalina State Park © Juan
Availability Search
11570 North Oracle Road
Tucson, Arizona   85737
(lat:32.4364 lon:-110.9096) map location

Phone: 520-628-5798
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.

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.
Nature of the Area
A variety of desert wildlife inhabit the park, including over 170 species of birds. Mammals of interest include deer, coyote, javelina, bobcat, and jackrabbit. Most desert animals are nocturnal, so early morning and late evening viewing are best. Any of the park trails offer good opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
History of the Area
Little is known about the Canada del Oro region and the area where Catalina State Park is located for the periods of Spanish and Mexican control over southern Arizona. The lack of historical documentation in this area may have been because of the fact that most of the activity in the Tucson Basin at that time centered around the mission of San Xavier del Bac. There was a small detachment of Spanish soldiers stationed at the mission and village of adobes a few miles to the north known as Tucson. Most of the population was concentrated in these centers rather than dispersed, because of the continual threat of attack by the Apaches. Exploring and exploiting the rich mining, ranching and farming potential of the Tucson area was a risky endeavor. In 1853, the Gadsden purchase was signed which formalized the acquisition of southern Arizona by the United States. During the years following the purchase, United States army troops were sent to the Territory to control Apache threats to the increasing numbers of travelers, prospectors and settlers in the area. On of the posts established during this period was Camp Grant located 40 miles northeast of Tucson along the San Pedro River. The route from Tucson to the Camp paralleled the Canada del Oro Wash where it passed between the Tortolita and Catalina Mountains. This route became an important for movement of the troops in spite of the attacks by the Apaches along the Canada del Oro Wash.The most successful enterprise in the general area of the Park was ranching. The earliest known rancher within the Canada del Oro region was Francisco Romero who was born in Tucson between 1810 and 1831, the grandson of a Spanish soldier who had arrived in Tucson in the 1770s. Although little is known of his childhood, he is mentioned as establishing a ranch of 160 acres on the west side of the Catalina Mountains in 1844 near the Canada del Oro. Romero evidentially was a successful rancher, since he acquired additional pieces of property including 320 acres of farmland along the Santa Cruz River west of Flowing Wells and land on Main Street in the downtown Tucson business district.Francisco and his wife, Victoria, had three children, one of whom became a rancher. His name was Fabian, born in 1864, and he is credited as the founder of Rancho Romero. His ranch is reported to have been 4800 acres. According to a map of Pima County drawn up in 1873, the Romero Ranch buildings were shown as located in section 4 that is within the Park boundary. A capped well and a concrete base for a water storage tank are the only remains that were found at that location. Fabian and his wife, Benardina had five children but it is not known if any of the children took ownership of the ranch before it passed out of family ownership. Romero Pass and Romero Canyon were named after the family.Another rancher to follow the Romero family to the Canada del Oro region was George Pusch, a young German immigrant and his partner, John Zellweger. They bought a large ranch in 1874 that was later named the Steam Pump Ranch due to the installation of a steam pump to ensure a predictable water supply. Pusch died in 1921 and the cattle ranch passed out of the family?s possession.The history of the Park land is uncertain from the 1920s until the 1940s when J.E. McAdams purchased 4100 acres that he called Rancho Romero. His property is believed to contain parcels that had been owned by the Romero and Sutherland families. The McAdams family owned the land until 1971 when it was sold to Ratliff, Miller and Muhr Investments, Inc., who developed the plan to convert the ranch into a self-contained community. This plan was given the Pima County Planning and Zoning with the request to rezone the land.
Arizona offers a non-commercial standard pass for weekday use at all parks, including weekends at most parks and the non-commercial premium pass which includes weekend and holiday access to the parks. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is not included in either annual park pass. You can find additional Arizona Annual State Park Pass informataion and order online by visiting the ARIZONA ANNUAL STATE PARK PASS web page.
Visitors Center
The Visitor Center/Ranger Station is located at the park entrance and is open from 8 am - 5 pm daily. Entrance and camping permits are issued here. Information is available about the park and local vicinity. The visitor center features a small gift shop. Some of the items offered are postcards, maps, books, field guides, drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, hats and tee-shirts. The shop is open from 8 am - 5 pm daily.
Overnight camping is available in 120 sites, 95 with electric and water hookups and 25 without hookups. Each campsite has a picnic table and BBQ grill. Roads and parking slips are paved. Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with hot showers. RV dump stations are available in the park. No limit on RV length. Stay limit is 14 nights.

Campgrounds are open all year. Sites are first-come, first-served. No reservations.

Group: Camping Sites

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.

Electric RV Sites: 95 RV campsites with electric and water hookups. Both 30 amp and 50 amp service available at each site.

Non-Electric RV Sites: 25 sites without electric and water hookups for RV's or tenters. Sites are first-come, first-served. No reservations.

Catalina State Park is located near Tucson, Tucson

The picnic area features picnic tables, BBQ grills, modern flush restroom, and one 20x40 foot shade ramada. All picnic area facilities are available first-come, first-served. No reservations. Day use hours are 5 am ? 10 pm.
Horse Area
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. Day riders pay the daily entrance fee. Overnight campers pay the non-hookup camp fee per vehicle per night.
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.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
December 30 by Steve foglio
park review stars; one to five Great place lots of space for campers very clean bathrooms and showers would definitely recommend come and get in very friendly people and staff hurriclean sites beautiful scenery
April 24 rude personnel by linda
park review stars; one to five Both the people at the gate and the workers at the campground were not friendly at all. My family had a negative experience camping at Catalina State Park on Easter Weekend.
May 26 Wonderful photography by Mike Ellison
park review stars; one to five Catch the dawn or the sunset for beautiful photos, the rock changes with the colour of the light.
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Pima Swan RV Park
4615 East Pima Street
Tucson, AZ
Nearby Hotels

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.

state route ranger badge

State of Arizona Parks