Winter RV Camping in the Desert-Arizona’s Catalina State Park

If the winter months have you longing for the great outdoors—but in a warmer setting—take the RV out one more time to Arizona. Catalina State Park, at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, is a rugged, beautiful place to camp, where thousands of mesquite trees and saguaro cacti are the backdrop for your winter RV camping vacation.

Located just thirty minutes north of Tucson via Oracle Road, the state park is within Coronado National Forest.  The campgrounds there are accessible to the biggest recreation vehicles, so don’t be afraid to rent or bring your own big rig.

Once you’ve reserved your campsite, you’re going to want to plan your hikes, because that’s one of the best reasons to come RV camping in Catalina State Park in wintertime. Arizona State Parks provides this trail map for Catalina SP to help you plan.

Here are three well-recommended trails to try while you’re at the Park:

  • Romero Ruins Interpretive Trail (3/4 mile): Park visitors are fortunate to have the chance to visit an archaeological dig that unearthed the remnants of a Hohokam village, as well as structures from a late 19th century ranch. Pay special attention to the ‘ball fields’ where some type of sports were played by the Hohokam people.
  • Birding Trail (1 mile): Follow this loop through varied habitats to find many of the Park’s more than one hundred species of birds.
  • Canyon Loop Trail (2.3 miles): This trail travels up and down through the foothills of the Santa Catalinas, giving hikers the opportunity to watch for Desert Big Horn Sheep that have been reintroduced to the National Park, as well as black-tailed jackrabbits, javelina and other desert species.

Here are some tips for maximizing your Catalina State Park RV camping experience:

  1. Reserve your campsite before you come, especially during the winter months.
  2. Be aware of the restrictions for taking dogs on the Park’s trails, due to the recent reintroduction of Desert Big Horn Sheep in the area.
  3. Take plenty of water when you hike, even in winter.
  4. The Park has facilities for equestrian camping as well as an equestrian center for staging trail rides. There’s also a stable concessionaire on-site, if you’d like to rent horses on your trip.
  5. Check the park’s website for their calendar of events. There are concerts, scheduled ranger-led walks and other educational opportunities throughout the winter.

Arizona’s Catalina State Park is a scenic, natural wonder and a fantastic place to spend a winter RV camping trip. It’s an easy thing to pick up a Phoenix RV rental and drive a couple hours south to the state park.

Don’t sit home dreaming about RV camping one more time this winter. Catalina State Park is waiting to provide easy-to-access RV campsites next door to the abundant wonders of the desert.

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