Catalina State Park
|Catalina Lake State Park|
Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, Arizona
|Location||Oro Valley, Pima, Arizona, United States|
|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 a state park of Arizona, United States, that is adjacent to Coronado National Forest on the western slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Catalina State Park has an average elevation of 3,000 feet (910 m) but varies dramatically with high ridges and low creek beds. The park includes 5,493 acres (2,223 ha) and is administered by Arizona State Parks in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. Catalina State Park is accessed from the town of Oro Valley on Arizona State Route 77, 9 miles (14 km) north of Tucson.
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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 been lived in is between 550–600 CE. The site was widely used for nearly 400 years; 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.
Catalina State Park has a number of hiking and backpacking trails, including Romero Ruin Trail, Nature Trail, Romero Canyon Trail, Sutherland Trail, Canyon Loop Trail, 50-Year Trail, Birding Trail, and the Bridle Trail. Specific trails are also open to equestrians. 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). The park also features several campgrounds and an equestrian center.