Friday, November 30, 2012

Catalina State Park offering outstanding programs and hikes in December

If you are a snowbird on your way to Arizona, head straight to Catalina State Park which is offering some outstanding hikes and activities for the month of December.

Every Saturday you can enjoy a reptile/wildlife exhibit from 9am to Noon, weather permitting. Volunteer Jim "the Snake Man" Cloer (photo left) and his crew of volunteer assistants enchant visitors at the park trail head with a menagerie of reptiles, arachnids, and animals who inhabit the Sonoran Desert. Meet at Main Trailhead parking area at Catalina State Park. Contact the Park for more information at (520) 628-5798.

Sunday Hikes
Register with Volunteer Gaston Meloche at (520) 638-5404 by 4pm at least one day prior to the hike. The hiking pace is moderate. Round-trip mileage, description, duration, and elevation changes (listed below) are approximate. Hike listings are subject to change. For safety reasons, four hikers are required for a hike to take place. Always bring ample water and wear appropriate headgear and hiking footwear. The time listed is the departure time. Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the departure time. If rain threatens or hikers number less than 4, a hike will be canceled and in such case the leader will phone registered hikers ASAP or about ½ hour before hike time in case of bad weather. If you have a medical condition and/or are allergic to Aspirin or must take prescribed medication, please inform the guide confidentially.

December 2: Cabin/Dripping Springs/Green Rock/Canyon Trail - (7-8 miles/400 foot elevation) Park at Large Picnic area. Leave at 7:30am and return to same area.
December 9: Fifty Year Trail, North End - (9 miles/1400 foot elevation) Meet at the Equestrian Center at 7:30am.
December 16: Alamo Canyon & West Ridges - (7-8 miles/400 foot elevation) Meet at main trailhead at 7:30am.
December 23: Catalina's Medium Loop - (8 miles/500 foot elevation) Leave from the Equestrian Center at 7:30am.
December 30: Park's best known short trails - 7 miles/200 foot elevation) Meet and park at main trailhead at 7:30am.
Friday & Sunday Bird Walk - starting at 8:30am
A walk along mostly flat terrain with frequent stops to view birds we encounter along the trail. Duration: 2.5 hours. This hike is open to beginner and advanced birders of any age. Meet your guide at the Picnic Area parking lot ramada. What to bring: Hiking boots or sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hat, and other clothing as appropriate for the season and weather, binoculars and drinking water. Please, no dogs. Bird walks are subject to change or cancellation depending on weather conditions.

Sunday Geology Walk - December 9 & 30
Start time is 9am. Meet at the Ramada in the picnic area. Hike will walk about 2.5 miles round-trip and take about 1.5 - 2 hours, depending on questions and discussion. Please bring water, walking shoes and your curiosity. We will look at maps, rocks and the mountains. Hike led by volunteer Karen Gray. Call the park for more information at (520) 628-5798.

Make online reservations for campsites at or by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 non-refundable reservation fee per site. Please note: the electric camping sites in campground A will only provide 20 and 30 AMP service. 50 AMP service will no longer be available in Campground A. Consequently, Campground B that has 20, 30 and 50 AMP service will be open all year long.

The Park Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle (up to four adults). Primitive to full hookup camping sites are available at a fee of $15 to $25 depending on the type of camping site needed. Catalina State Park is located on State Highway 77 (Oracle Road) at mile marker 81, just nine miles north of Tucson and six miles north of Ina Road.

For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call toll-free (800) 285-3703), visit the website and online camping reservations at or Twitter/Facebook AZStateParks.

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