PLACES TO STAY
Gilbert Ray Campground
View Google Map of Gilbert Ray Campground
The Gilbert Ray Campground – (520) 883-4200 – is located in western Tucson Mountain Park, west of Tucson. The campground has 130 RV sites with individual 30-amp electrical hook-ups. The campground has 5 sites that are designated tent only, however tenters are welcome to camp in an RV site but are asked not to use the electrical hook-ups. It has centrally located water, picnic tables, modern restrooms, and an RV dumping station. Shower facilities are not available.
Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is a seven-day length of stay limit. The park’s busiest season generally runs November through April. Camping fees are $10.00 per night for tents and $20.00 per night for trailers and RVs. Wood fires are prohibited. The park has many miles of singletrack ranging from relatively easy and flat to steep and technical. Gilbert Ray is also located near the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a must-visit for people who want to learn about the flora and fauna of the region.
Catalina State Park
View Google Map of Catalina State Park
Catalina State Park – (North of Tucson on the Oracle Highway) (520) 628-5798 – sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. The 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons and streams invites camping, picnicking and bird watching — more than 150 species of birds call the park home. The park provides miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails which wind through the park and into the Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3,000 feet. The park is located within minutes of the Tucson metropolitan area.
Park facilities include a campground, picnic tables, grills, trails, an equestrian center, a group use area for day or overnight use (available by reservation), restrooms, showers, and a gift shop. All restroom and shower facilities are accessible. The park also offers an equestrian center which provides a staging area for trail riders with ample trailer parking. The trails are more for intermediate level or above if you ride out of the park. You can drive to Golder Ranch Road and pick up the 50 Year Trail or jeep roads for easier riding. In February and March Catalina State Park also fills to capacity.
View Google Map of Mt. Lemmon – Catalina Highway
If you are visiting during the warmer months, the campgrounds located in the Coronado National Forest on Mt. Lemmon, provide a wide variety of camping options. With such variations in elevation and eco-systems, the camping locations and recreational opportunities found in the Coronado National Forest are equally varied. Over 1,100 miles of trails, designed for various modes, levels of challenge, and experiences, are available. Five small lakes provide water-based activities. Eight wildernesses and a number of “roadless” and “protected” areas offer solitude and primitive conditions for the out-of-door enthusiast. And with the most southern ski resort in the U.S., Mt. Lemmon, located just outside Tucson, wintertime “snow play” activities are not forgotten.
The Catalina Scenic Byway, winding up to Mt. Lemmon, is lined with campgrounds for car, tent, recreational vehicle (RV), and motorhome camping enthusiasts. The first campground, Molino Basin, in the Upper Sonoran Zone eco-system, is open only during the winter months. With temperatures about 20 degrees cooler, Spencer Canyon and Rose Canyon campgrounds, located further up the Byway, are open only during the summer months. Besides cooler temperatures, these campgrounds offer tall Ponderosa pines and spacious campsites.Trails are for the most part much more technical. For information about camping, call the Coronado National Forest Santa Catalina Ranger District, 749-8700.
Bed & Breakfast Inns
Karrels’ Double K Ranch
Karrels’ Double K Ranch is located on the east side of Tucson, a short drive from Mount Lemmon and the Redington Pass trails. Features include a garden railway and a working model trail set in one of the rooms, a swimming pool and spa. Owners Ken and Mary Karrels are active in the Pima Trails Association, an organization of hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians who work to keep trails open and to promote preservation of open space in Southern Arizona.