|Catalina State Park|
Location in Arizona
Catalina State Park (the United States)
|Location||11570 N Oracle Rd|
Oro Valley, Arizona
|Area||5,493 acres (22.23 km2)|
|Elevation||2,854 ft (870 m)|
|Governing body||Arizona State Parks, U.S. Forest Service|
Catalina State Park is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is home to nearly 5,000 saguaros and desert plants. There are 5,500 acres of foothills and canyons that offer opportunities for camping, hiking, and bird watching. The park is home to more than 150 species. At an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet, the park offers miles of trails for recreational use.
The park is several minutes by car away from the Tucson metropolitan area. The park is home to trails for activities like birding, biking, backpacking and hiking, including Romero Ruin Trail, Nature Trail, Romero Canyon Trail, Sutherland Trail, Canyon Loop Trail, 50-Year Trail, Birding Trail, and the Bridle Trail. Certain trails also connect with other trails in Coronado National Forest, continuing to Mount Lemmon, the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet (2,791 m).
There is evidence that the park and surrounding area have been continuously occupied since about 5000 BCE by the Hohokam people. The Romero Ruin still contains pueblos built of rock and adobe, as well as a Mesoamerican ballcourt. The earliest date the pueblo would have lived in the area is between 550–600 CE. The site was widely used for nearly 400 years, estimated around 1000–1450 CE.
The namesake of this ruin, Francisco Romero, built a ranch on the site in the 19th century, and most likely used stone from the previous Hohokam structure to build his house, and fortifications to protect him from the Apache.
On June 5, 2020, a lightning strike started the Bighorn Fire which burned through the Santa Catalina Mountains until late July. The Bighorn Fire burned parts of Catalina State Park and caused damage to trails and vegetation.
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