In the southeastern Arizona desert, you will find 2,658 acres of land dedicated to nature and outdoor activities. Dotted with a scenic man-made lake, swim area, and gorgeous creek, Patagonia Lake State Park will stir up your love for outdoor recreation. Established in 1975, Patagonia Lake State Park is a hidden sanctuary for RV vacationers. With desert vegetation covering much of the area the park is blessed to have two and a half miles of Sonoita Creek flowing on its northern edge. It is busiest from May through October and during the weekends. Guests can enjoy many activities ranging including birding, hiking, or water sports.
Once you park your camper you can walk to the visitors center to familiarize yourself with the park’s attractions, trails, and swimming rules. Here you can get maps and birding guide. For many guests coming to Patagonia Lake State Park, the neighboring Sonoita Creek Preserve is a must visit. This is a prime birding spot in Arizona and is famous with migratory birds. This nature conservancy does great work in preserving cottonwood trees. In fact, this area has many shaded trails perfect for hiking.
RV Rentals in Patagonia Lake State Park
Transportation in Patagonia Lake State Park
Conveniently located between Nogales and Patagonia, guests can easily access the park off of State Route 82. After making a turn vehicles exit to a countryside road approximately four miles to the park’s entrance. The road leading to the park passes through a desert landscape surrounded by rolling hills that are covered with desert plants making it a scenic drive. The interior roads are wide and paved making it easy for large trailers to navigate to the campground. The few trails available are well-maintained too. There are many parking spaces south of the lake. Overnight guests can park their trailers in the campground and cabin guests can park at the cabin area parking lot.
Campgrounds and parking in Patagonia Lake State Park
Campsites in Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia Lake State Park Campground
Patagonia Lake State Park has a pet-friendly campground that offers 105 campsites for RVs, trailers, and tents. Overlooking the lake, the sites are equipped with electric hookups. There are no sewer hookups in the campground. Amenities offered within the park include tables, fire rings, barbecue grills, drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers, and an RV dump station. Firewood can be purchased in the park. Most sites are quite larger and can fit a trailer of any length. Campsites can be reserved up to one year in advance. Pets are welcome, but must stay on a leash.
There are 12 boat-access-only sites on the shores of Patagonia Lake. Amenities in this area include portable restrooms, picnic tables and fire ring.
Seasonal activities in Patagonia Lake State Park
Seasoned as well as novice hikers will absolutely be mesmerized by the park’s beauty. With over 25 miles of trails dotting the park visitors can get to all attractions and facilities within the park. A hike across the carved pedestrian bridge gives awesome views of the lake. This is a great photo spot for visitors. The half-mile Sonoita Creek Trail takes visitors to the creek for wildlife viewing. Several other trails originate from the park and meander through the Sonoita Creek Natural Area that draws nature lovers from entire Arizona.
Boating, kayaking, and canoeing are popular activities you can enjoy during your RV trip to Patagonia Lake State Park. Water skiing and pontoon boat tours are open seasonally. Guests are free to use motorized and non-motorized boats in the lake waters. It is worth noting that the east section is designated a no wake area. Boating and kayaking canoeing water skiing will have a blast rent at the marina bring your watercraft both motorized and none motorized boat in campsites
At Boulder Beach, you will find a roped-off swimming area that provides a great escape from the sun during summer. Swimmers are not permitted in boat launch areas. It's recommended that only skilled swimmers should use this swimming area as waters are wild and there are no lifeguards on duty. The beach area has shaded ramadas and chairs to chill out.
The 265 acres Patagonia Lake is stocked with rainbow trout from November through March. Largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish are native to the lake. Sonoita Creek has crayfish, suckers, and speckled dace. Boat fishing and shoreline fishing are permitted. For convenience, the park has two boat ramps and a handicap accessible fishing dock. Anglers above 10 years of age should have a valid Arizona fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the park’s marina or online at Arizona Game and Fish. Baits, snacks, and groceries can be purchased from the park’s marina. Boat rentals are also available.
Birding and Wildlife Viewing
The area around Sonoita Creek is concentrated with birds and wildlife. You will need to bring a pair of binoculars and a birding guide in your camper to get the best out of your RV trip. For avid birders, Sonoita Creek boasts of over 300 species of birds ranging from native birds such as hummingbirds, vultures, and owls to migratory birds that frequent the area. Uniquely, the creek plays host to some rare bird species including canyon towhee, vermillion flycatcher, and green kingfisher. Herons are common in the lake shores too. Due to its richness in fauna, there are plenty of deer roaming around as well.
Park your rig at Patagonia Lake to enjoy the designated day use areas. Here guests can catch-up with their friends as they enjoy their meal. The picnic area has a mix of shaded and open sites equipped with tables and grills. Shaded ramadas are open for advance reservation and can accommodate a maximum of 60 people. There are extra picnic tables near the beach as well.