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State of Arizona Parks

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USA Parks
Tuscon & Southern Region
Coronado National Forest
Cactus Wren ©
A species of wren that is native to the southwestern United States southwards to central Mexico.
Spring Hike ©
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300 W. Congress Street
Tucson, Arizona   85701

Phone: 520-388-8300
Email: park email button icon
Located in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, lies the Coronado National Forest. The forest covers 1,780,196 acres. Elevations range from 3,000 feet to 10,720 feet in twelve widely scattered mountain ranges or "sky islands" that rise dramatically from the desert floor, supporting plant communities as biologically diverse as those encountered on a trip from Mexico to Canada. Views are spectacular from these mountains, and you may experience all four seasons during a single day's journey. Spend the morning wandering among giant saguaros and colorful wildflowers, have a picnic lunch under the brilliant golden leaves of a cottonwood tree, and play in the snow in the afternoon. Interpretive trails in and around historic and prehistoric sites allow you to experience the past in the mountains of southeastern Arizona. Eight wilderness areas encompassing 338,536 acres offer you solitude and primitive recreation.

Nature of the Area
Whether interested in plants, insects, herps, birds or mammals, wildlife watching on the Coronado can be an unforgettable experience. Numerous wildlife-viewing areas have been established over the 1,100 miles of trails around the Forest where visitors may see anything from songbirds to bears.

Black bears may be found throughout the Coronado National Forest. Visitors to the area should be aware of their presence and take precautions in order to avoid attracting bears.

The extreme elevation and habitat variations of the Sky Islands result in greater diversity of plants and animals than on most other Forests in the nation. Some of the more than 576 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that call the Coronado National Forest their home are found on no other National Forest.

Wildlife on the Coronado includes: birds and other animals that provide world-class opportunities for wildlife viewing, several threatened, endangered, or sensitive species that are dependent upon Coronado habitats for their survival, and numerous big and small game species that provide abundant opportunities for the hunter.

 Hiking Trailyes
Campgrounds and picnic areas on the Coronado are nearly as diverse as the people who come to visit. Campsites are available from an elevation of 3,000 feet up to 9,000 feet, offering a year round season of camping opportunities, and a full spectrum of vegetation and climate zones to choose from.

Forest Service campgrounds are designed to meet your recreational needs. Except for the most primitive sites, they have toilets/outhouses and potable drinking water sources. Most campgrounds are accessible by even the tamest passenger car, and will accommodate large RVs or trailers. No matter which site you choose, you'll find adventure and some peace and quiet in America's Great Outdoors.

As with any public facilities, we do have a few rules we ask you to follow when you visit campgrounds and picnic areas:

CAMPING : If you are staying at a campground, camp only in those places specifically designated or marked at campsites. All vehicles, RVs, and trailers must be parked in the campsite or its driveway. Driving or parking off-road is not permitted. Please observe quiet hours between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and be considerate of others.

CAMPFIRES : Campers enjoying the day on Mt. Lemmon.Please obey any fire restrictions posted at the sites. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times. Within campgrounds and other recreation areas, fires may only be built in fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose. Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. Do not leave your fire unattended. You are responsible for keeping fires under control. Remember, one careless moment with fire can destroy centuries of nature's handiwork.

STAY LIMIT : The stay limit in any National Forest campground is 14 days. Generally, there is a limit of 8 persons occupying each camp site. The Safford Ranger District (Mt. Graham) allows 10 persons to occupy each camp site. Make sure you give everyone else a chance to enjoy the area!

VEHICLE : Drivers must obey all traffic signs and operate their vehicles in accordance with posted regulations, and applicable Federal, State and local laws. Just like everywhere else! Motorized travel is restricted on many roads to protect wildlife habitat and other resources. Information regarding travel limitations is available at Ranger District offices. Allow plenty of time for all motorized outings and please drive safely.

PETS AND ANIMALS : Pets must be restrained or on a leash at all times while in developed recreation areas. Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas or sanitary facilities. Saddle or pack animals are allowed only where authorized by posted instructions.

The Forest has its share of animals as well. Please be considerate and safe around them: they are wild, no matter how tame they may seem at the time. Some areas of the Coronado are black bear country; please check bulletin boards at the specific sites for more information.

FIREWORKS AND EXPLOSIVES : Use of fireworks or other explosives within campgrounds and other recreation areas is prohibited.


You may not expect to find lakes in the arid southwest, and though there are no natural lakes on The Coronado National Forest, several man-made lakes are available for recreational use.

Most of these lakes are stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and offer excellent fishing.

A valid fishing license is required of any person, except residents or non-residents under the age of fourteen years and blind residents, for taking aquatic wildlife from public waters.

Coronado National Forest is located near Tucson, Tucson
Nearby Parks

Rock Climbing and Rappelling
The sight of rocky outcroppings and stony hoodoos is enough to take a rock climber's breath away! The Santa Catalina Ranger District has a wealth of rock climbing opportunities with over a thousand established routes within a short hike of the Santa Catalina Highway.

Many factors can affect your choice of climbing site, not the least of which is Arizona's weather! Most areas, except for the mountainous Catalinas, are too hot for climbing from mid-June through mid-September. Be aware that the weather may change quickly at any time of year. Summer storms move fast and may be accompanied by rain, hail, high winds, low visibility and lightning. Winter conditions may vary depending upon whether the route is in shadow or not. Do not underestimate the potential severity of winter storms in the Catalinas. Remember that most hypothermia cases occur when the air temperature is approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

For your own safety, be on the lookout for loose rocks. Be sure to test old fixed gear before using it. If your only experience is sport climbing, be careful in selecting your climb. Wear a helmet for your own protection. And, don't forget, any climb, no matter how easy, can produce a fatal fall.

The hiking trails of the Coronado National Forest sky islands offer near unmatched variety. Elevation determines not only the air temperature, with lowlands warmer than highlands, but also the types of plants and animals encountered. The warm climate and desert plants for which Arizona is known occur only at lower elevations, while pine, fir, and spruce cover the highest mountain tops, with grasslands and oak woodlands between.

Hikers can explore the desert lowlands during the winter, then come back in summer to wander through cool high-elevation Ponderosa pine forest during the summer months.

Or consider starting in the towering pines of a mountain summit and walking downhill to finish among giant saguaro cactus on the desert floor -- all in a single day hike.

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Interstate highway 10 east of Tucson, Arizona offers many access routes into the forest via state highways.

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