Hiking to Romero Pools

Tucson, AZ

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.

Fording the raging stream

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.

View of the Oro Valley area north of Tucson.

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.

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15 Responses to Hiking to Romero Pools

  1. We also liked this trail for the views and the scrambling. Great pics too for it brought back memories of our hike. Also if you are still in a hiking mood and ready to head out of Tucson, the trails at Picacho Peak (without going to summit ) will beckon you. There are three trails, Sunset Trail(Steve’s fave), the Hunter Trail and a short one which I forgot the name. We’ve done the three so let me know if you are interested and I’ll give more tips.

    • placestheygo says:

      Oh, Mona Liza, I must apologize. I forgot to have my husband thank you in the blog. You were the one that mentioned this trail to us. I researched it and thought it looked great. We had a fantastic time!!

      Thanks for the other trail suggestions!! We only have four days left here in Tucson:(

      • What? I can’t entice you to more beautiful hikes ? When you pass by this mountain on I-10 one day you will remember my nagging. Ha ha . Where to next ?
        Dont worry about not mentioning my name, what’s important is that you had a great hike.

      • placestheygo says:

        Well, you never know!! The weekend is probably out with the weather but we still have Monday and Tuesday. We need to hike somewhere. I’ll look into your suggestions to see how far they are.

        We are heading to Vegas for a week. Our daughter is flying out. She has never been to Vegas and Valley of Fire is only 50 miles. So we can hike and tour. We will probably move closer to Valley of Fire after she leaves.

      • Okey 🙂 I’ll be anticipating your stories about Valley of Fire for we have never been there.

      • placestheygo says:

        After two different people posted pictures and a third couple raved about it, we decided to change everything (including our daughter’s destination) to get there. I am so excited!! Stay tuned!!

  2. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    Best hike so far…at least for me! Great views! We plan to circle back to Tucson the middle of March so we can see the desert in bloom or at least we were told that would be the best time….any suggestions?

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve never been here in the spring. Originally we were to be in the Phoenix area but changed plans. We’re heading to Valley of Fire outside Las Vegas and then to St. George we think. I thought we should swing back to AZ mid March for the desert bloom. Guess it is a little far. Maybe another year. Hope you get to enjoy the blooming desert!!

  3. Lisa says:

    Looks like a great hike with a lot of variety…the best kind of hike!

  4. Marsha says:

    What an agile hiker you are Pam. You just floated over those rocks.
    It looks like those rocks didn’t slow John down a bit.
    Romero Pools is so lovely.What a beautiful area. I love the desert in the spring. It comes so alive with color.
    Glad you had another wonderful adventure.

  5. Sue says:

    Great pictures once again Pam (er, and great pictures John….) Its so nice seeing those Ocotillos start to green up, They are still dry and brown down here. Valley of Fire, hmmm. sounds like a place we’d like. Be sure to keep us informed and perhaps we’ll swing by there later in March.

  6. rjrvtravels says:

    Between you and the Lowes I am going to be in great shape by the time we leave the SW. We are headed to Picacho Peak State Park next Friday and will be in Catalina in early March and I now have a long list of great hikes! Vegas – Valley of Fire. Sounds like fun. Enjoy your time with your daughter.

  7. A hike with water. I love it!. The pictures give me a good idea. Now I know what to expect on a hike there.. Great Blog!

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