nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


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 External Link 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. $7 entrance fee

great hike. awesome views throughout. good elevation after first mile. we hiked to the second pool and we had it all to ourselves

This was one of the best hikes we've done in Tucson! The trail is pretty flat/sandy until you reach the montrose pools, then the the trail becomes more rugged and steep to the romero pools from there. My boyfriend and I are pretty experienced hikers, the hike took us ~1.5 hrs to get to romero pools and ~1 hr back to the parking lot. From the parking lot, you'll go across a small stream then take a left at the first trail marker, up a small hill, which starts the flat/sandy piece of the trail. The trails are clearly marked from there. Bring water and snacks and explore around the pools to find your own personal oasis!

2 days ago

nice easy hike with interesting archeological notations.

3 days ago

Nice trail. Would do it again. Rare treat to find a desert stream. This trail is on the “easy” side of moderate.

Nice trail, beautiful canyon and pools. Horses may NOT use this trail and is not suitable for them unfortunately.

A very pleasant hike. The first half is flat and crosses a couple of washes and follows a creek which leads up to some beautiful desert and views. There are nice rock formations and running water at the top and beyond the end point shown on this map. The trail can be difficult to follow in places.

Did this trail on 1/15/2019. Great trail very rewarding. Starts out flat for first mile on the birding trail, then splits off and the trail is well defined but there was a lot of high grass in parts of it. About 1.5 miles into hike starts to climb rapidly and very steep, but still easy to follow. We found a mountain lion kill on the trail of a big horned sheep close to the top that had a radio tagged collar on it. The last mile is hard and steep, do not recommend for non experienced hikers or anyone that is not a fan of steep trails. Had to be careful on way up and down because one slip and could take fall. Very rewarded though once done and felt like real accomplishment. If experienced and not afraid of steep trails or heights, I would recommend as very challenging. I would also not brings kids as the danger level high.

Really nice walk with lots of views. Pleasant walk by streams and mountains. There are spur trails that go further up the mountain for even more views and more challenge.

11 days ago

7 mi 3h45m. Recommend go with experienced guide. Fun winter exploring hike with SAHC hikers. From end parking lot took Sutherland Wash (2 creek crossings rock hopping over 8” water) up to Trail Link. Took a break off 50 Yr Tr to area east lined with ocotillos overlooking mesquite bosque/grove with cows below. ) Back on 50 Yr Tr went South along top ridge with pretty birds and round boulders....THEN took cut down off 50Yr Old Tr hopping over cactus and rocks along narrow bushwackish trail with camoflauged cairns. Strong ankles, long sleeves, pants, poles, tweezers and comb helpful. Trail dropped down above Catalina State Park’s Nature Trail popping out few steps west of landmark RoadRUnner sign. Terrific guides: Nancy, Kathy and Mike used his gps way points a few times which helped a lot. Going south on 50 Yr Tr there were 5 trails linking. Friday 7:45am -11:45 am saw few other people. One bummer, forgot to record this on AllTrails.

13 days ago

Lots of more interesting and dramatic hikes nearby, but if you don’t have much time, this loop is a quick and pretty walk with some nice views. I love the big old tree at the start of the loop.

Beautiful views all along the way. We saw a coatimundi on our way to the last set of pools. The hike up the mountain had spectacular view of mountains and city. There many interesting rock formations and places to stop and admire the views. Parts were rocky and steep but not too difficult. The last pool and small waterfall was superb. You can keep hiking beyond that point along some running water. The path, if you wanted to keep going, would take you all the way to the top of Mount Lemmon!

Perfect moderate trail. I do it a few times a week.

19 days ago

Great Hike....Took 10 year old daughter and 6 year old Son....Was a little difficult in some places for kids, but they were able to complete...Took us like 2 1/2 hours to make it up to the second pool and took 2 hours back....Was worth the hike beautiful views!!!! We loved it and are looking forward to doing hike again....

on Canyon Loop Trail

20 days ago

love it!!!! Beautiful Trail....Great...Took my 10 year old daughter and 6 year old son.... Plus 2 dogs!!!! Very Kid Friendly... Great Afternoon Hike...

21 days ago

Easy hike with a five year old.

A good workout. Steep in places. Mostly rocky. Nice views. I prefer trails that are loops versus out and back to maximize views. It was worth it though.


Beautiful, with lots of variety.

30 days ago

We didn't have much time for a hike, but the weather was good and we wanted to view the quintessential cactus landscape on the desert southwest. This loop was a perfect find. It was pretty heavily attended by hikers of all ages, runners, and dogs on this Saturday afternoon. Although the tracks were fresh and prevalent, we didn't encounter any cyclists or equestrians.

Easy little trail, well kept, dogs loved it, a couple water crossings, and great for a sunset hike.

Great hiking and views, elevation is steep up to the pools but nice to come back down after. Make sure to keep hiking to the left when you first get to the pools to get an even better view of all of them. We climbed over some rocks and had some amazing views.

Tough but beautiful run/hike. Fantastic views too.

1 month ago

If you consult the USGS maps, you will see that this is Dead Horse Canyon. It is south of Alamo Canyon and north of Catchment Canyon. While it is true that you are near Table Mountain, the canyon is Dead Horse Canyon. I have been there many times and am helping to take a group there tomorrow. Note that most of the southern part of the trail is in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness and is closed Jan. 1 to Apr. 30 for desert bighorn lambing season. It would be nice to have the name of the hike corrected.

1 month ago

Great views, not that hard for a disabled 60 y/o with two bad replaced hips to hike by taking it easy.
Trail is easy to navigate.

This trail is actually 14.2 miles not 12.5. Even the Catalina State Park info says so. Up your game, AllTrails. ;-) Beautiful and ever changing views along the entirety of the route. Fairly easy to follow. Be sure to pay attention to and follow the stacked stone markers whenever the trail hops from one side of the stream to the other, which happens often after the Romero Pools. When we reached the pass (marked by a sign for the Mt. Lemmon Trail), we scrambled up a hill 0.4 miles to the NNW for lunch among boulders, a spot with wonderful 360° views. It extended our hike to 15 miles, but it was well worth it.

Pleasant hike off the main road that runs through Catalina State Park. There is an immediate elevations change via man made steps... Beautiful views... variety of cactus . .

elivation gain is more high-moderate in my opinion, but the pay out at the end of the trail is so worth it!! make sure to climb down to the left to see majority of the pools, missed them the first time I did the hike!

1 month ago

Great trail, we did it with our dog. Flora is just beautiful

1 month ago

Super easy trail that runs next to a small creek.

It is always a nice moderate hike. Today the weather was cool and we enjoyed it. Had three layers in the ascent but only one layer coming down.

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