Situated at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina at one time resided on the outskirts of civilization. No longer. Just in the past decade since we first visited the state park, faux adobe homes and big box stores have crept to the borders. But amazingly, once within the park, it feels just as peaceful as it ever did.
Why We Love Catalina State Park
Our main reason for coming here is the excellent hiking within the park. There are numerous trails that lead into the cacti-studded mountains, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes up the mountain.
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The Romero Pools Trail
The Romero Pools Trail is one of our favorite trails in the park. It’s a rigorous six-mile hike that climbs a rocky path to seasonal pools. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding terrain.
About The Campground
This is a popular place in the winter, for good reason. The park offers spacious sites, water and electric hookups, spa-like showers, peace and quiet, and dark night skies for $30 a night ($25 for no hookups). We could only get four nights in the park—the downside of not making reservations far in advance. But it was enough time for us to hike many of the trails in the park and to replenish our food supplies from the nearby markets. There are, after all, some benefits to civilization, including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.