Romero Canyon Trail

Catalina State Park, Arizona

Elevation Gain4,727ft
Trailhead Elevation6,086ft
Elevation Min/Max2830/6086ft
Elevation Start/End6086/6086ft

Romero Canyon Trail

Romero Canyon Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Pima County, Arizona. It is within Catalina State Park and Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area. It is 6.0 miles long and begins at 6,086 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 12.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,727 feet. This trail connects with the following: West Fork Sabino Trail Fs #24, Canyon Loop and Mt. Lemmon.

Romero Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This short, desert upland hike is scenic—and exposed. Pack in water and water your dog well before leashing her and heading out. The trail is well traveled on weekends during the recommended seasons—following leash and waste pickup regulations is not just good for this desert environment (and for your dog), it is a courtesy to other trail users.

Once you cross the park drive to approach the trailhead, follow the sign to join up with the Romero Canyon Trail. You and your dog strike boot and paw onto a wide, sandy path that crosses the Sutherland Wash and then vaults uphill for 0.2 mile—in fact, much of your elevation changeon this hike is in this initial climb. Breathtaking views of Romero Pass and
the sky islands of the Santa Catalina Mountains reward your ascent."

"Like other routes in the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Romero Canyon Trail begins at the base of the range but eventually climbs to its upper reaches. The canyon itself is quite rugged and beautiful, and a surprising variety of flora is encountered."

"A day hike to Romero Pools, 2.8 miles one way; or backpack to Romero Pass, 7.2 miles one way.

This trek begins on the flats of Catalina State Park, ascends through the rugged foothills of the Santa Catalinas, and then penetrates deep into the mountains. Most hikers travel only as far as Romero Pools, leaving the upper section of the trail fairly secluded. There is a good camping area near Romero Spring. From its terminus at Romero Pass, this trail links up with the Mount Lemmon and West Fork Sabino Trails for extended trips."

"A long day hike or backpack trip into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness from Catalina State Park, ending at Romero Pass at the head of Romero Canyon. Special Considerations: This hike has 3,230 feet of elevation gain. Carry plenty of water during the hot summer months."

"This hike leads to a collection of popular seasonal pools in Romero Canyon, starting from Catalina State Park and heading into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Coronado National Forest. Seasonal pools such as these tend to occur in deep canyons where the additional shade helps keep the water from evaporating.

In desert mountain ranges, such temporary pools are important water sources for wildlife, which may come from miles around. Hikers can use the water as well but should observe a few commonsense courtesies. Take only the water you need, and use it sparingly for all purposes except drinking. Never bathe in a pool or pollute it with soap or food scraps."

Romero Canyon Trail Reviews

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I hiked this 5.6 mile round trip to the Romero Pools in about 3.5 hours, including stopping frequently to take pictures and a long rest period at the pools. The pools are just large enough to take a dip, and the water is cool enough to make that worthwhile. The first part of the trail is fairly flat, wide, and sandy; then it narrows into a singletrack that winds over rocky terrain. I saw about twenty people total from beginning to end, including some children (so it is doable for families). Both shade and vegetation are increasingly abundant as one nears the pools. There were great views of the Catalina Mountains and of the valley to the south with mountain ranges in the distance. However, the views are nothing surprisingly spectacular as similar views can be seen from a greater distance from the road and in other parts of Tucson. Bring your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, and a camera.
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This trail is very rigorus. The trail gains over 3000 feet yet you find yourself over every canyon losing elevation and climbing up and beyond the next climb. The trail is difficult to climb at times very rocky carrying big loads for anyone other than a very experianced packer would not be suggested. Furthur back the trail is rarely traveled and alot of over growth covers the trail. At times becomes impossible to locate the trail and takes extra time and energy to relocate the trail 6 to 7 miles in. Even furthur the trail dissaperas almost alltogether following your way by searching for piled up rocks to find your way. On a park map that has no contour lines or terrain on it shows several other trails that meet up with romero canyon yet these trails are not marked. I believe that this is missleading and if you dont knwo the area you could accidently take the wrong trail. So these trails are not marked in any way. I turned around to avoid becoming lost.
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excellent hike with the cool refreshing pools at the end. bring plenty of water. unfortunately this is NOT a dog friendly trail. the "canyon loop trail" on which you start the hike (located in catalina state park) allows dogs. when you get to the "romero canyon trail" intersection it states no dogs allowed. this is a protected wildlife area particularly for big horn sheep. also note that there is a big horn sheep closure period from january - april. this is a well traveled trail for good reason. it gives a fine panoramic view of the western slope of tucson and a cooling toe dip in the pools. the trail does continue on and will eventually get you to the top of mt. lemmon. a topo map from the local guide shops (summit hut) in tucson will come in handy. happy trails!
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Trail was pleasant to Romero Springs from Catalina State Park. The pools while very nice were overly crowded, but a good resting point after the first climb. Romero Springs was beautiful, I intend to return for camping below the large shaded trees and next to the water. Our groups destination was to Hutch's Pool to camp before exiting Sabino Canyon. From Romero Springs to the Start of the West Fork of Sabino was EXTREMELY challenging while carrying a 40+ pound pack for camping. The trail while well marked had many trees in the way (probably from the fire/flood combo couple years back) and lots of loose footing for the very difficult climb towards the end. The scenery and change in Scenery is great, however. I would recommend the hike without a heavy pack and coming from the east instead of the way my group took (from Catalina State Park to Sabino).
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A superior hike with great views. As with most scenic trails around Tucson, start early since the trail goes west to east and you are facing the sun basically the whole way up. This trail is very rocky once it leaves Catalina State Park and is not for the very novice hiker. Catalina Park also has several nice trails suitable for family hikes.

Romero Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Catalina State Park
Nearby City
Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Additional Use
USGS Mount Lemmon, Oro Valley; Santa Catalina Mountains Hiker's map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018