Catalina State Park
“Thanks for a wonderful weekend. You hit a homerun with my family. My boys are still talking about the mountain biking and archery.” –Parent from Fall 2013 Session
Spring & Summer 2014 Arizona Family Campout Program is designed for families that have little or no experience camping. We hope to introduce you to the great experiences you can share with your family and inspire you to continue to explore the great outdoors! Take a one weekend introductory adventure at one of 9 Arizona State Parks. Learn more about the program and register.
Download Catalina SP Events Calendar ( 90 KB PDF)
March 29: Archaeology Expo at Catalina State Park in Tucson
9 am to 4 pm. This year’s Expo will offer many educational attractions for archaeology and history buffs, and will be located at Catalina State Park in Tucson, north of Tucson at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The Expo is open to the public and is FREE. Kids will love meeting “Hualapai” the burro.
The Expo provides a special opportunity for visitors to learn more about why it is important to preserve archaeological sites and historic places; what archaeologists, historians, and tribal members do in their jobs; and the prehistory and history of Arizona. Archaeology- and/or history-related, hands-on activities, craft demonstrations, and other fun and educational events will be featured. In addition, Boy Scout and Girl Scout merit badge requirements can be fulfilled at the Expo. Special displays and booths by archaeological and historical organizations, museums, Native American tribes, state and federal agencies, and others will allow you to participate as an archaeologist might in their research today, or make crafts and tools that teach how prehistoric Native Americans and other early inhabitants survived in the Southwest. Demonstrations and interactive activities will help make the past come alive! In addition, information on archaeological sites, museums, and historical period parks in and around the local area will be highlighted. The Expo will give visitors new insights into Arizona’s many prehistoric, historic, and contemporary cultures, and will help instill a sense of stewardship for our state’s fragile and nonrenewable heritage resources. Download Archaeology Expo Event Flier ( 336 KB PDF) See Archy Month activities across Arizona!
Big Horn Sheep Release
On Monday, November 18, 2013, 31 Bighorn Sheep were re-introduced to the Santa Catalina Mountains next to Catalina SP in Tucson. Next year another 30 will be released with the hope the population can return to 100 sheep. Note: To protect the herd, dogs are now restricted on many trails in the area. Desert Bighorn Sheep Re-Introduction Regulations ( 482 KB PDF)
Catalina Now Offers 24/7 Online Campground Reservations!
Reserve a campground RV or tent site from the comfort of your home, anytime of day. Make online reservations Site reservations for this park are also available by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 non-refundable reservation fee per site.
First Saturdays Concert Series
On the First Saturday of the month enjoy an evening concert at the Trailhead with standard park admission. Bring a chair, and your own food and water to enjoy these concerts! Concerts will be canceled during severe weather. Sponsored by the Friends of Catalina SP. Download Concert Series Flier ( 586 KB PDF)
April 5: 5 pm. Saguaro Sunset Bluegrass Band (Bluegrass)
May 3: 5:30 pm. The Cowboy & the Jazz Lady (Jazz)
June 7: 5:00 pm. Annon and the Late Show (Jazzed R&B)
Wednesdays & Sundays Romero Ruins Adventure Walk
10 am Most Wednesdays & Sundays at the Romero Ruins Ramada. Learn the history behind the Ruins in this 1 mile kid-friendly walk. See Arizona Daily Star Photos of this hike.
Saturday Wildlife Exhibit
Enjoy live animals and kids activities every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm (From March 1 - April 19: time is 9 am - Noon), weather permitting (temperatures in the 50s and not raining or very windy). A crew of volunteer assistants enchant visitors at the park trail head with a menagerie of reptiles, arachnids, and animals who inhabit the Sonoran Desert. Some animals that may be on exhibit include rattlesnakes, Gopher snakes, Gila Monsters, desert tortoise, tarantula, and scorpions! Participants should meet at the Trailhead.
Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday Bird Walks
Picnic Area: Every Friday & Sunday 8:00 am at the Picnic Area
Trailhead: Select Wednesdays at 7:30 am at the Trailhead Whether you are a novice or a season birder come and enjoy the birds that visit and live in the Catalina’s. This hike operates on March 5, March 19, April 2, and April 9.
Sunday Morning Guided Hike
Registration is required for each hike by calling Gaston at (520) 638-5404 Please note: phone number is strictly for those hike's registrations. Registration must be made by 4 pm the day before the hike. For all hikes, please bring water, hat, and if you wish, a snack. Must wear hiking boots. Please note: Four hikers are required for a hike to take place. Sorry but children under the age of 10 and dogs are not permitted. Hike destinations are subject to change. Registered hikers will be notified in advance if there is a cancellation due to weather. If you have a medical condition and/or are allergic to Aspirin or must take prescribed medication, please, confidentially, inform the guide.
- Sunday, March 09, 2014 - “Catalina’s Medium Loop” [8mi/500’/8 am] Park and meet at Equestrian Center.
- Sunday, March 16, 2014 – Park's best-known short trails [7mi/200’/8 am] Park and meet at main trailhead, near two buildings.
- Sunday, March 23, 2014 - “The hole-in-the-boulder and the “cabin” loop. [7mi/300’/8 am] Park and meet at main trailhead, near the two buildings.
- Sunday, March 30, 2014 - Geology Hike - [6mi/550’/8 am] Park and meet at main trailhead, near the two buildings.
- Sunday, April 06, 2014 - Wildflowers pursuit [7mi/400'/7:30 am] Date may change according to flowering time. Park and meet at Equestrian Center. We'll go explore to find season's wildflowers, probably accompanied with a pertinent expert.
- Sunday, April 13, 2014 - Cargodera Canyon & up Sutherland/Link & Cyn [10mi/1400’/7:30 am] Leave from main trailhead, near the two buildings.
- Sunday, April 20, 2014 - “The hole-in-the-boulder and the “cabin” loop. [7mi/300’/7:30 am] Park and meet at main trailhead, near the two buildings.
Sunday, April 27, 2014 Upper Romero Pools [7mi/1600’/7:30 am] Hike Romero Canyon Trail to upper pools and return by the same route. Park and meet at main trailhead, near the two buildings.
March 6: Plant/Wild Food Walk
9 am select Thursday. At the Trailhead Picnic area. Plant and Wild Food hike with Canyon Gagnon. Ninety minute walk featuring Saguaro and/or Mesquite treats. (Dates: Thursdays: 3/13, 3/27)
March 9: Geology Walks
9 am. (March and April at 8:00 am) Come hike though the Santa Catalina Mountains with our Geologist as you learn about the rocks that are the foundation of this natural area. (Dates: 3/23, 4/6, 4/13)
March 10: Our Knights in Spiny Armor
8:30 am at the Trailhead Gift Shop. A short hike with an in-depth intro into the mysteries of our giant saguaro cactus, including general info on our Sonoran Desert & it’s varied plants & wildlife. Excellent hike for visitors & newcomers. Be prepared to "climb the hill" of the Nature Trail. Bring sunscreen & water. (dates: 3/12, 3/19, 3/24, 3/26, 3/31)
March 10: Archaeology Walk
10 am at Romero Ruins Ramada. Come hike 1 mile and learn about prehistoric life in the shadows of the Catalina Mountains. Every Second Monday of the Month. (Dates: 4/14, 5/12)
Meet at the Trailhead at 4 pm. Richard Boyer as he presents “Bighorn Basics” for a 35 minute talk to learn more about bighorn sheep - including reintroduction efforts and updates on a proposed wildlife corridor to cross Highway 77 near Catalina. What are they? Where have they been? Where are they now? Many of the tools we use can be compared to the tools the Bighorn Sheep use to survive in mountainous areas of Arizona. (Dates: 4/27)
Program starts at 6:30 pm. Astronomers will answer questions and discuss the elements of the night sky as darkness descends. Meet at main trailhead parking lot at Catalina State Park. When the night sky arrives, astronomers will volunteer their expertise and telescopes for visitors to view an assortment of night sky attractions including planets, star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae. Bring a folding chair, a red light (to protects everyone’s night vision), sweater or jacket (temperatures will drop quickly after sunset), & enthusiasm to enjoy and conserve our beautiful night skies! $7 per vehicle (up to four adults). Online camping reservations are available (additional fee). Supported By the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association Learn more about Star Night Parties and watch video
10 am - 6 pm. in the Gila Monster Group Area. Arizonans all know it really is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk in July, but did you know you can bake cookies in the park in April? This annual community event celebrates of the sun. Experience the flavors of solar-cooked food and enjoy solar-powered music, family activities, solar appliances and exhibitions (ovens, fountains, coolers, lights, water heating, electrical systems) and solar arts. The event also features live-music on a solar-powered stage, children's activities and discussion/lectures with community experts. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, a brimmed hat and sunscreen. More info at Citizens for Solar or contact Bruce Joseph at chair(at)citizensforsolar.org. We invite the community into solar culture, and introduce the community to renewable energy solutions by bringing people together.
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Spring 2013 has brought wildflowers to the park. Enjoy a hike or activity during this beautiful time of year. Photo courtesy volunteer Margie Caswell.
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.
Don't have a horse? Pusch Ridge Stables is an equestrian concessionaire near the park that offers horse rides on designated trails on the north end of the park. Visit puschridgestables.com for more information.
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.
The Saguaro (saw-WAH-row,) scientific name Carnegiea gigantean, is a tree-like cactus species of the Cactaceae family, which can grow to be over 50 feet tall or taller than a four-story building. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. There are over 5,000 Saguaro in Catalina State Park. The Friends of Catalina SP offer an Adopt a Saguoro Program.
Join the Friends of Catalina SP !
The mission of this group is “To solicit funds and mobilize public support for projects and activities at Catalina State Park in Tucson, Arizona." If you hike, cycle, or ride the park trails … If you enjoy the nature programs with the live snakes, gila monsters and other wild animals … If you enjoy the park’s boulder terrain and mountain vistas … If you want to continue the education programs that hundreds of elementary school children enjoy … Please join us in supporting our park! Learn more at http://www.friendscsp.org
Tree Dedication Program
Plant a tree to commemorate a lost loved one, the birth of a child, or to celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary! Choose the native tree and planting location from among designated areas in the park. A 3 x 5” commemorative plaque located in the entrance station is included. Park Rangers will plant and maintain the tree. The cost to dedicate a tree is $350-$400 (depending on tree species). To dedicate a tree or for more information contact the park office at (520) 628-5798. Or by email shaas(at)azstateparks.gov
Catalina Adventure Program!
An Environmental Education Program for Grades 1–3
The Catalina Adventure Program! is a 2-hour environmental awareness program designed for sensory learning for grades 1–3. This participatory and interactive field trip, led by trained naturalists, focuses on developing an awareness of nature through the senses. Appreciation of the natural world and our relationship to it is emphasized during a series of hands-on activities along a trail in the 5,500 acre park.
Students get to explore and learn to use all of their senses. The trail walk and activities apply the concepts of using the five senses learned in the classroom to improve the students’ understanding of the natural world. Teachers receive a packet with pre- and post-visit classroom activities to enhance the on-site experience. The materials contain specific key concepts, teacher background information, and student activity sheets. The Catalina Adventure Program begins in October 2010. There is currently a fee of $2 per student.
For more information or to schedule a trip, please contact the park office at (520) 628-5798 for details. Download Adventure Program Info ( 807 KB PDF)
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge