Surrounded by jaw-dropping views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina State Park is a nature lover’s dream, featuring over 5,500 acres of towering canyons, rolling foothills, and glistening streams. Located just outside of Tucson, this state park is a must for your next RV vacation. You’ll have endless opportunities for outdoor recreation in a unique desert landscape. From hiking and biking to birding and horseback riding, Catalina State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor adventures.
The mountain views of Catalina State Park are breathtaking, rising to up to 3,000 feet. You will love soaking in the desert air while being surrounded by unique plant life, including mesquite trees, desert willow, prickly pear, and other cacti. There are over 150 species of birds in the park and tons of native wildlife from mountain lions to bighorn sheep. History buffs will love the chance to set their eyes on a prehistoric Hohokam village site on the Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail.
Once you park your camper at Catalina State Park, you can venture out on one of the many nature trails dotted around the park. For birdwatchers, there is a dedicated Birding Trail where you can spot fascinating native birds. The 50-Year Trail is a popular route for horseback riding and biking, while the Sutherland Trail is a more difficult 10.5-mile trek, where you can hike through majestic desert terrain and canyons.
The park is home to two wonderful RV-friendly campgrounds that are regarded as being some of the best in the state. You will have the choice between powered and non-powered sites, or if you are traveling with a group, you can also stay in one of four group camping loops. Catalina State Park is a perfect RV destination no matter what time of year you visit, with sunny summer days and warm winters. Due to the cooler temperatures, the peak season is October through May.
Catalina State Park is easy to access by RV or car, since it is located just 10 miles from Tucson, AZ, off of State Route 77. Local roads will take you anywhere you want to go within the park, from the Ranger Station and Gift Shop to the campground and trailheads. There are no driving restrictions for RVs or trailers within the park, so you’ll be able to get around easily, whether you’re in your rig or another vehicle.
Since the park is located very close to the city of Tuscon, there are plenty of places nearby where you can stock up on any supplies that you may need. Near the entrance to the park, there are many grocery and supply stores, so if you did forget anything you won't have to worry about going without. You are also within a short driving distance to Catalina, Oracle, and San Manuel, so if you feel like doing some exploring you will get the chance during your visit to the area.
There are several options for parking RVs and trailers, with four lots throughout the park. You’ll be able to find spots at the Ranger Station, Equestrian Center, near the Bobcat Amphitheater, and near the nature trailheads. Of course, you can also park at the campground if you are staying overnight.
With both Saguaro National Park and the Sabino Canyon only 15 miles away, Tucson, AZ, is the center of Arizona's desert recreation areas. Discover an oasis at the Tucson/Lazydays KOA where rigs up to 65 feet long can smoothly ease into deluxe patio sites complete with full hookups, up to 50-amp service, furniture, and a southwest-style fireplace. Propane and firewood are available for purchase on-site. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi and cable TV and feel rejuvenated at the hot tub or sauna. At the campground, feel free to rent a bike, play some mini-golf, swim at the pool, or grab a bite at the snack bar. Bring your pup, because pets are welcome!
Campground B is the largest RV-friendly camping area within Catalina State Park and is perfect for those looking to stay within a built-up area. All of the campgrounds in the park are very highly regarded, so you can expect a pleasant stay.
There are 75 sites at the newer Campground B, which have 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electric and water hookups. You will be able to select either a back-in or pull-through site of varying sizes, most of which are suitable for rigs up to 69 feet in length. Each site also comes with a BBQ grill, picnic table, and a paved area to park your rig on, and campground-wide amenities include a restroom block and a dump station. All sites are pet-friendly, and you should be able to get cell phone reception on all of the major
Since Campground B is the most popular place for RV camping in the park, reservations are highly recommended and can be made all year round.
If you are looking for a quieter place to stay during your visit to the park, you should consider making Campground A your home. Located near Campground B, Campground A features the same amenities as the larger campground (such as a BBQ grill and picnic table at each site, toilets, and a dump station) with the main difference being that there are fewer sites available. Campground A offers 48 sites with water and electric hookups.
This was the first campground built in the park so it is a little older than Campground B, but it is still in great condition. There are no size restrictions for RVs in the park; in fact, some sites can fit rigs up to 150 feet long. The same reservation system is used for both Campground A and Campground B, you will be able to reserve a site prior to arrival.
Visiting Catalina State Park with a group? If so, you will be pleased to know that there are four group camping areas that are located within a central area to the east of Campground B. These group camping areas are primitive with no electric, water, or sewer hookups available, but there is a central toilet block that is within a walkable distance. The Ringtail Loop of the group camping area is also used on occasion for overflow camping, so you can also stay here if the two other campgrounds are full. There are no restrictions as to how many people can stay in each group area, but reservations must be made in advance by calling the park.
If you are bringing your horses with you on your camper trip to Catalina State Park, you can stay for the day or overnight at the Equestrian Area. There are no specified sites, but you can stay in your RV in the designated lot. There are 16 corrals available for horses or stock animals. This facility provides water, restrooms, hitching posts, mounting steps, picnic tables, grills, and fire pits. This is a first-come, first-served facility, with no reservations accepted.
All of the sites within Campground A and Campground B that aren't reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis to travelers who are arriving without a reservation. During the peak season, arriving without a reservation is not advised since both campgrounds are very popular places to stay. Unless you are making a last-minute trip to the park, getting a reservation is recommended so that you can guarantee that you will have a place to stay.
Since Catalina State Park is close to the city, you have the option to park your RV at a private campground or RV Park in the nearby Tucson area. You will be able to enjoy a range of modern amenities of your choosing, from wireless internet to swimming pools. Tucson is a large metropolitan area, so you’ll have easy access to gas stations, grocery stores, and dining options.
If you are an avid equestrian, you will love the chance to hit the trail and go exploring at Catalina State Park. This state park has an equestrian area that will fulfill all your needs if you are bringing your horses in your trailer. There are 16 corrals, hitching posts, and water available on-site. You can go horseback riding on five of the trails throughout the park and soak in the amazing desert scenery all around you.
Guided hikes and ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year. You won’t want to miss these during your trip to Catalina State Park. Take a guided hike through the foothills and learn about the amazing wildlife and geology of the park. You might also be able to join a birding walk where you can learn about the wide variety of birds that call this state park home. Be sure to check at the Visitor Center when these experiences are offered during your stay so that you don't miss out.
Catalina State Park is a great place to bring your bike and head out onto the desert trail! Once you park your RV you can cycle down the Bridle Trail, which is a flat one-mile trek that is great for a short bike ride. Another great biking trail is the 2.3-mile Canyon Loop Trail, where you can coast along with views of the foothills with terrain that varies from flat to inclined.
You’ll want to pack good hiking boots in your campervan since there are eight hiking trails to choose from at Catalina State Park that vary in difficulty. If you are looking for an easy hike or stroll, check out the Nature Trail. This is a one-mile loop through desert vegetation, with interpretive signs that explain the natural history of the beautiful scenery all around you. For a more challenging hike, trek out on the 7.2-mile Romero Canyon Trail, which will take you up a majestic mountain route. Most of the hiking trails are pet-friendly.
Catalina State Park is teeming with wildlife, so you’ll want to bring your binoculars during your RV vacation here. There are all sorts of desert creatures to spot including coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, and deer. The best time of day to see these creatures is early in the morning or late in the evening, so get ready to experience all of the fun! If you are looking to see a specific animal during your visit, you can ask some of the friendly park staff for their tips.
If you want to spend a relaxing afternoon in the park, head on over to the picnic area. You can dine in the desert with views of canyons, streams, and cacti all around you. Picnic tables and grills are available for use so you can cook some delicious grub in an incredible setting. There are also two group picnic areas that can be reserved in advance, so if you are visiting with a larger group this is a great option.
If you want to learn more about the history of the park, park your motorhome at the Visitor Center and check out the exhibits inside. There are displays you can walk through at the Visitor Center that will teach you all about the natural history, geology, and cultural history of the park. Plus, you can ask the rangers any questions you may have about the park or the creatures that make their homes here.
If you’re bringing the kids on your RV adventure, they’ll have loads of the fun participating in the Junior Ranger Program. You can download the Junior Ranger Activity Sheet from the park’s website or inquire about the booklet at the Visitor Center or Ranger Station. There are thrilling activities that will help your kids explore the park and learn about its natural history. Once you complete the activity kit, you can turn it into the rangers and receive a Junior Ranger Button.
Catalina State Park features a rare historical site just waiting to be explored during your RV road trip. You’ll start by heading out on the .75-mile Romero Ruins Interpretive Trail until you reach the remains of a Hohokam village. These ruins date all the way back to 500 A.D., which you can learn about from the interpretive signs that describe the site’s heritage and archaeological activity.
Catalina State Park is home to more than 170 unique species of birds, so you want to make sure you pack your binoculars in your RV. Some of the many birds you can see include sage thrashers, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, hawks, eagles, and sparrows. Hummingbirds are easy to spot by the Visitor Center since there are bird feeders located nearby. Other hotspots for birding are the waterways within the park at the Canada del Oro Wash and the Sutherland Wash. Make sure you don’t miss a trek along the Birding Trail, which is teeming with opportunities to spot all kinds of birds.