Yesterday we drove north of Tucson to visit Catalina State Park located in Oro Valley, AZ at the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Our destination was a visit to Romero Pools, a hike of about six miles up the Romero Canyon. You start out on the flat desert floor, wind steeply up into the mountains amid rock formations, and then drop down to an idyllic area of trees, pools and waterfalls at the bottom of a canyon.
Right after you leave the parking area there is a creek to cross. It is usually dry but melting snow in the Catalina Mountains is feeding all the streams in this area. The trail then winds through a flat area for almost a mile.
As you approach the canyon the trail quickly begins to gain in altitude.
Then it becomes a rocky climb up the side of Romero Canyon.
With recent rains and the pending arrival of spring, the Ocatillo in this area are beginning to develop some green color.
After a great hike up the canyon, you then go down into a valley, back up the side of another canyon, then down into a valley to the Romero Pools. In each of the valleys you can hear running water, a unique sound for the desert.
There are a number of pools here, with large rocky areas providing some great views of the water and also a place to sit for a while before beginning the return hike.
Like most hikes up a canyon, the return trip gives you an almost completely new view as you now look down the canyon.
Scrambling down the rocky trail is much easier than scrambling up was.
The hike up the Romero Canyon is one of the nicest we have done in this area. It has a bit of elevation gain, some variation of views as you go down into some small canyons and back up, and the pools at the end are worth the trip. The only negative is that the Great Crested Saguaro Spotter could not find one example of the elusive Crested Saguaro. But is was still a great hike.