Romero Canyon Trail
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Cool Canyon Pools--hike into the desert mountains near Tucson
One of the best day-hikes from Tucson is just north of town, on the 'back side' of the Santa Catalina Mountains: Romero Canyon. Drive up to Catalina State Park for the trailhead, and you'll begin trekking through mesquite woods and towering saguaros before beginning to climb the rocky foothills into this mountain range. Then you'll scramble down into the canyon itself, with a flowing stream at its heart. Most years, even in the early summer dry season, you can still find pools to cool off in--it's a popular trail for Tucsonans. (Just get an early--dawn--start.) Continue past the pools and you can hike all the way up to Romero Pass, in the heart of the Pusch Ridge Wiliderness, where naturalists are trying to re-introduce a herd of mountain bighorn sheep. Late fall through early spring are perfect here... "Desert oasis" might be a hackneyed phrase when describing places like this, but desert-dwellers don't take them for granted. Fortunately, when you're in southern Arizona, seek and ye shall find...
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