Catalina State Park is a popular park located in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley. The park is surrounded by development but you wouldn’t know it from inside the park.
We enjoy the park’s many hiking and biking trails. It’s a theme that connects all the locations we gravitate towards.
Another plus for the park is its proximity to the Pima County Bike Loop. The “Loop” consists of 131 miles of paved trail that circles the city. From the entrance of the park you have easy access to the Oro Valley Feeder to the loop. Walkers, bikers, skaters are all welcome.
One of the pleasures of travel is getting to meet people. During our stay at Catalina SP we met two couples who are full time RVers. It’s always fun to hangout and talk with fellow travelers. We spent a morning biking a section of the loop referred to as the “art loop” which featured a number of art installations.
The park hosts a lot of visitors and the trails can get busy. We’ve visited a number of times and have found some trails that are underutilized. One we often return to is The Montrose Pools Trail.
Oracle State Park is about thirty minutes north of Catalina. It is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge with 15 miles of hiking trails. The park is at a higher elevation than Catalina SP with a beautiful oak woodland chaparral and weathered granite boulders.
The park’s campsites have been full during our entire stay. In fact, we had to book two different sites for our two week stay.
The Romero Ruins Trail is a short popular hike. A few years ago we discovered that if you follow an unmarked trail off the Ruins trail it takes you near the base of the Pusch Ridge in the Catalina Mountains.
Saguaro National Park consists of two districts on opposite sides of Tucson, west and east. We’ve visited Saguaro West but hadn’t checked out Saguaro East-Rincon Mountain District. The park offers hiking and biking trails as well as an eight mile scenic drive through the saguaro forest.
Hiking in the desert in the heat of the day can be brutal and takes some planning, but on Sunday we woke up to an overcast day. We wanted to hike the Sutherland Trail to Cargodera Canyon and took the opportunity given us by lower temperatures and cloudy skies.
Sunsets in the desert are the best and we’ve seen our share of them since we landed in Arizona. We couldn’t pick just one !