Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011


Site A35 CatalinaUPDATE:  As of 2012, all Arizona State Parks are on a reservation system.  At this popular park, you should make reservations well in advance, as you would be lucky indeed to find a site for more than one night without a reservation during the winter season.  Check the Arizona State Park website for the phone number, or to make reservations online.

Our Opinion: Rave; a favorite stop for several years.  This is an update to my previous review in October of 2008 (click here to see the campground during the off season).

Date of Stay:  February 17 through 22, 2011.

Weather During Stay: Mild, with sunshine, clouds and WIND.

Site Description:  This campground often is full by noon from mid-January through March, so you don’t get to choose a site… you feel lucky to get one at all.  All sites are fairly level, most are very long and big-rig friendly.  Sites are exceptionally spacious, but most offer no privacy.  All sites and roads are paved.  About half the sites are back-ins; the rest are long pull throughs.  Each site has a heavy-duty picnic table.  Dumpsters and recycling containers are available in each loop.

We were assigned site A35, a long, level, south-facing back-in site in loop A, the old loop.  Sites on the south side of loop A are dry (no utilities), sites on the north (around 20 sites) have W and E.  Nice, clean, modern restrooms are centrally located, and trees (leafless this time of year) are scattered throughout the loop.
All sites full Catalina in February
Loop B is the big “new” loop (not so new anymore, but is how we think of it), with 75 large W and E sites.  The restrooms, with showers, are the nicest we have ever used.  There is a “family” restroom/shower we have used together, very roomy and comfortable.  The great showers make it much easier to stay for an extended period without a sewer hookup.

Just opened two weeks ago: an overflow area (near the group sites and a modern restroom with showers).  If a developed site is not available when you arrive, you can wait/overnight in the large, level, dirt overflow lot.  
Overflow instructions Heading into overflow Plenty of overflow space
Rate:  Rates for sites with 30/50 amp E and water have gone up to $25/night.  No sewer hookups.  $15/night to dry camp in Loop A.  Two large dump stations are conveniently located.  Maximum stay is 14 days, strictly enforced during the busy season.

Phone/radio/TV: Aircard on broadband.  Verizon signal strong.  NPR from Phoenix on 91.5.  We pick up a couple stations on the TV antenna (the local CBS affiliate).  No obstacles for satellite TV. 

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This flat, desert campground is at 2700’ elevation.  Native trees are scattered throughout, providing a bit of shade.  The arid, rocky, Santa Catalina Mountains tower over the campground - impressive views and frequently gorgeous sunsets.
Loop A bathroom (smallest)
Lighting/Noise: Very quiet, very dark.

Favorite Sites: We prefer the perimeter back-in sites of Loop B, but didn’t have that choice during this visit.

Hiking/Walking: Fantastic.  Hikes of all lengths and difficulty.  The hiking and views are the big draw for us here.

Comments: Catalina State Park is just north of Tucson in an upscale, quickly developing area.  In the park, you feel as though you are quite remote from the city, but dining and good shopping (including Trader Joe’s and several great grocery stores) are within a few miles.  A super Wal-Mart is right across the street in a new shopping area.

1 comment:

Russ Krecklow said...

Thanks for sharing about this campground. We enjoy the Tucson area and have some friends that live in Oro Valley. We are looking forward to visiting there in our motorhome one of these days.