“A challenging route up and over to Romero Pools. Plenty of amazing views to the Santa Catalin range
— Niall Murphy
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail will bring you from the main parking area, across a wash, and up into the Santa Catalina Mountain range toward Mt. Lemmon. After you join the singletrack trail up to Romero Pools you'll be met with a few steep climbs with views that are worth the effort. You'll then begin to descend into the Romero Pools area.
No dogs allowed since this area is part of the bighorn sheep restoration project.
Need to Know
Be aware of the weather and avoid being near the stream during rain storms as flash flooding can definitely take place in this area down by the pools. Any rain on Mt. Lemmon will surely find its way down the mountain and through the pools.
Very limited cell service. Most reliable water sources are Romero Pools and Hutch's pools.
The first part of the trail is a wide and sandy path crossing the first main wash and leading you to the Romero Pools trailhead.
After you join the singletrack trail up to Romero Pools you'll climb up and into the mountain. This section is the hardest part of the entire journey, but is worth the challenge. You'll not only have views of Mt. Lemmon to your east, but you'll have sweeping views looking west over Oro Valley and Tucson.
The descent into Romero Pools is a nice breath of fresh air that gives you a chance to use other muscle groups. A few days after a big rain is one of the best times to explore this trail!
For those looking for a longer run, there is the option to start at Catalina State Park and finish at Sabino Canyon (parking fee required). This route requires a shuttle, but is a great run to traverse the Santa Catalina Mountains. From Romero Pools cross Romero Pass at 6,080 feet before descending on the West Fork Trail #24 before turning south on Sabino Canyon Trail #23
. Don't miss Hutch's Pools along West Fork Trail at 3.4 miles after Romero Pass. You have the option to follow either follow the North Upper Sabino Canyon Road
or Phoneline Trail
to exit at the Sabino Canyon visitor center.