Catalina State Park is a popular place here in Tucson, the vast majority come to hike to Romero Pools. The beginning part of the Romero Canyon trail provides the first leg of a nice, short loop hike that wanders through the foothills of Catalina State Park and avoids much of the crowds. This is a great short hike for kids in a backpack as well.
Begin this short loop from the popular Romero Canyon trailhead and immediately cross over Sutherland Wash, which may have water flowing in it depending on the recent precipitation activity in the mountains. The trail breaks left just after the wash. A sign for the Birding trail breaks away right. Stay left and climb briefly up the slope overlooking Sutherland Wash, then follow the broad sandy trail through the relatively flat land before it truly starts to climb up to the Pools. There are great views over the north side of Pusch Ridge here, particularly the vertical north face of Table Mountain and also Pusch Peak. After 0.6 easy miles on the Romero Canyon trail you come to the first signed intersection.
Hang a left onto the Canyon loop trail which now swings generally north. Again this trail is mostly flat. There are nice views along the north part of the Catalinas, country not often seen in Tucson. There are some nice canyon overlooks along the way too. The trail eventually starts swinging west and comes to some stairs where you descend down to the Sutherland Wash again. You will now stay on the south side of the wash for a while. This part of the trail along the wash is surprisingly lush with nice trees and shade. You may be surprises to find water here even if the wash is dry farther down at the Romero Canyon trail crossing. This is a very nice area to relax. Soon the trail crosses over the wash at a sign. Just beyond this you come to a signed intersection with the Sutherland Trail. This is after 0.9 miles on the Loop Trail.
Hang a left onto the Sutherland Trail and follow it about 0.8 miles back to the trailhead. This section is basically flat the whole way. It crosses over the wash again twice. Again there may some nice areas with water here. In the spring there is nice, tall grass along the way.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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