Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, AZ
This weekend my husband and I were able to take a little time out for a picnic and a hike, and one of the great things about Catalina State Park is location, location, location.
Located just south of the intersection of Oracle and Tangerine Roads in Oro Valley, Catalina State Park has hiking, biking, birding, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and just good ole relaxing.
It was a popular place this Sunday, the parking lot was full when we arrived!
After only about 30 minutes in on the trail to the Romero Pools, the views were already spectacular. There are eight trails varying in length and difficulty at Catalina State Park. The Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail (3/4-mi.) features the ruins of a 1000 year old Hohokam village site. For a short trip, explore the mile-long Nature Trail with signs explaining the desert and its inhabitants. For the expert and experienced hikers, (i.e. In SHAPE) there are The Romero Canyon Trail (7.2 mi.) and the Sutherland Trail (10.5 mi.) Both offer natural pools and connect with other Coronado National Forest trails which continue on to Mount Lemmon. You can also sidetrack off the Romero Pools at the base of the switchbacks and catch the Montrose Pools.
I think the Canyon Loop Trail (2.3 mi.)is a mild, family-friendly walk and good for beginners. There's just one big "hill" involved, and it's very scenic winding along the wash. The 50-Year Trail (7.8 mi.) is popular with equestrians and mountain-bikers, and the Birding Trail (1 mi.) And, don't forget the Bridle Trail (1.4 mi) which connects the Equestrian Center with the main trail head. It is the only flat trail in the park.
The flowers were in bloom! I couldn't get over how big the thistles were...2 inches for sure!
We only carried one water bottle each this trip, so we turned around at 1.5 miles.
We definitely recommend a trip to Catalina State park when you want to get away from it all, right around the corner!