Romero Pools Hike
To get to the Trailhead from the Tuscon area: Head north on Oracle Road (HWY 77). Turn right on the well signed road for Catalina State Park. Pay your $7 at the gate (as of February 2015) and drive 1.7 miles to the end of the paved road and the well signed parking area. You're looking for the Romero Canyon trailhead. There are restrooms and water at the trailhead.
To get to the Trailhead from the Phoenix area: Take I-10 South to exit 240 (Tangerine Road). Go East on Tangerine road for 13.5 miles. Turn right onto North Oracle Road (HWY 77). Take this road 0.7 miles to the signed turnoff to the Catalina State Park. Turn left here. Pay your $7 at the gate (as of February 2015) and drive 1.7 miles to the end of the paved road and the well signed parking area. You're looking for the Romero Canyon trailhead. There are restrooms and water at the trailhead.
Hike to the Romero Pools near Tuscon, Arizona.
The Catalina State Park is a popular destination and it's easy to see why. The hike along the Romero Canyon Trail to the Romero Pools is a great way to enjoy this area. The well worn trail is easy to follow for it's entire length to the Romero Pools.
From the well signed trailhead, the first thing you'll need to do is cross a normally dry wash. When we took this hike, it was after a few days of healthy rains, so the wash crossing was more interesting than usual. We took our boots off and waded across the steadily flowing wash. Once on the other side of the wash, you'll reach a trailhead junction. To stay on the Romero canyon trail, stay left here. This section of the hike gains a little elevation, but is mostly flat for about 0.6 miles until you reach the next signed trail junction (JCT_1R on the map) with the Canyon Loop trail. Stay right here. The trail now starts to gain elevation more aggressively and steadily for the remainder of the hike to the pools. This is typical sonoran desert hiking as you'll see plenty of your favorite cacti. About 0.5 miles from the previous trail junction, you'll reach a signed spur trail for the Montrose Pools. They are worth taking the short side trek down to see. Continue along the Romero Canyon trail as the trail switchbacks higher and higher. Be sure to enjoy the views as you climb. After 1.7 miles from the Montrose pools, the trail will drop into a canyon and cross the wash again. Depending on recent rains, this wash may or may not have water in it. During our hike, it had a ton of water in it! This is the location of the Romero Pools and the turn around point for this hike. The trail continues across the wash, deeper into the Coronado national forest, but these pools are a good turn around point. This is a popular swimming hole in warmer months, water levels depending. After enjoying the pools, return the way you came.