Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wish We Could Stay Longer at Catalina State Park

It's been a little greener and a little colder here in Catalina State Park. In the mid 20's every morning; around 10 degrees cooler overnight than South West Tucson. We had a frozen water connection the first morning, luckily we could still use the water pump and the water in our tank!

On our first full day we hiked lovely Romero Canyon. It's a beautiful steep and rocky trail that passed several streams flowing with snow melt. We hiked just beyond the Romero Pools at 3600 feet elevation. Had we been feeling up to it we could have continued all the way to the pass at 6000 feet! We even saw a skunk foraging on the hillside, he was moving too fast for me to get a picture though.

Early on the Romero Canyon trail you follow a stream cascading over boulders flanked by lush desert vegetation.

Flowers were starting to pop here and there along the trail.
These are Ragged Rock Flowers.

Rocky trail!

Lots of green on the hillsides, still some snow on the higher elevations.
This is Bighorn Sheep country, though we did not see any on this day.

A double waterfall at Romero Pools.
We loved that once you reach the pools area, there are grassy areas
and oak trees as well as the giant boulders in the stream.

Mexican Poppies are starting to cover the hillsides.

Back at camp on day two I had fun relaxing, soaking up the amazing view from our site and enjoying the wildlife.

This is a Round-tailed Ground Squirrel and he makes his home in our campsite.
He had no fear of us, just went about his business.

Vermilion Flycatcher. 
Jungle Kitty!
No cactus to worry about here!

While I relaxed at camp Hans went on a bike ride. He was scoping out the 50-Year Trail to see if I might enjoy it on day three...since it was pretty rocky I think I'll skip it! Yeah, I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to mountain bike trails...I prefer fairly smooth, rolling single track over rocky, bouncy, steep hilly trails!

Yeah, I know, this part of the 50-Year Trail doesn't look bad.  :-)

On day three we hiked a trail that wasn't on the state park map. It ended up being a five mile loop with a gorgeous, crystal clear stream at the halfway point. To access this trail go to the Romero Ruins trail head and keep right at the Y just before you head up the hill to the ruins.

Once you reach the creek, maybe two miles in, you can follow it upstream for a bit for some fantastic creek scrambling! Once you've had your fill of this pretty creek, head back to the main trail and continue on the loop. The trail comes out on the main road just outside campground loop A.

The water was amazingly clear.

We had so much fun traveling down the creek back to the trail junction!

This was a short but very worthwhile introduction to Catalina State park. We WILL return! We're off to the  Amado/Tubac area tomorrow.


  1. The Jungle Kitty photo caught me off guard for a second as I scrolled down the post! So cute! Also, I remembered what I'm supposed to do tomorrow... :)

    Love you!

  2. That sure looks like what we call a prairie dog here in Texas. Who knows! Thanks for doing all my walking and exercising for me!


    1. It's our pleasure Bill! I guess every state must have their own version of the prairie dog, gotta maintain their individuality I guess!

  3. Great hiking! Glad Rosie is out and about. We had two ground squirrels that hung out with us at Valley of Fire.

  4. Love that Vermillion Flycatcher! great capture.