Catalina State Park, Outside Oro Valley

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Catalina State Park is a 5,800-acre (23.4 km2) state park in Pima County, Arizona, United States. The park is in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just outside Oro Valley, Arizona. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including mountain lions, coyotes, deer, and a variety of birds. The park offers a host of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.

The park was established in 1974 and is one of Arizona’s most popular state parks. The park is open year-round and offers activities for all ages.

Catalina State Park, outside Oro Valley ,Arizona

History

Humans have inhabited the Catalina Mountains for at least 12,000 years. The area’s first known inhabitants were the Hohokam people, who lived there from about 1000 BC to 1500 AD. The Hohokam were followed by the O’odham people, who continue to live in Southwestern Arizona today.

The first Europeans to see the Catalina Mountains were Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The mountains were named after the Santa Catalina de Siena, a Catholic saint.

In the 19th century, the Catalina Mountains became a popular destination for miners and ranchers. The mountains were also used as a military training ground during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.

The Catalina Mountains were established as a State Park in 1974, created to protect the mountains’ natural beauty and provide a place for recreation and education.

Recreation

Catalina State Park offers a variety of recreational activities, including:

  • Hiking: The park has over 50 miles (80 km) of hiking trails, beginning with easy and increasing to strenuous.
  • Camping: There are 100 campsites in the park, including both RV and tent sites.
  • Fishing: There are two lakes in the park where fishing is allowed.
  • Horseback riding: There are several horseback riding trails in the park.
  • Biking: There are several mountain biking trails in the park.
  • Birdwatching: The park is home to various birds, including hummingbirds, hawks, and owls.
  • Wildlife viewing: Catalina Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including mountain lions, coyotes, deer, and rabbits.

Attractions

Catalina State Park has many attractions, including:

  • Sabino Canyon: Sabino Canyon is a popular hiking, camping, and fishing destination.
  • Mount Lemmon: Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Seven Falls: Seven Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Sabino Canyon.
  • Romero Canyon: Romero Canyon is a popular destination for hiking and birdwatching.
  • Bear Canyon: Bear Canyon is a beautiful canyon with a variety of hiking trails.

Camping

There are 100 campsites in Catalina State Park, including both RV and tent sites. The campsites are located in a variety of settings, including meadows, forests, and near lakes.

Campsites are abundant on a first-come, first-served basis, and reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Fees

The entrance fee to Catalina State Park is $7 per vehicle, $3 for individuals and bicycles, and a $10 fee for camping.

Hours

The park is open year-round from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM; see Catalina Park for more information.  

Getting There

Catalina State Park is about 15 miles (24 km) north of Tucson, east of Oro Valley, Arizona. The park is accessible by car, bus, and bicycle.

By car: Take 77 (Oracle) north to 11570 N. Oracle Road, 32°25′0″N 110°56′15″W.

By bicycle: Several bicycle trails lead to the park

Contact Information

Phone: (520) 749-8700

Website: Catalina

 

 

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