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A challenging route up and over to Romero Pools. Plenty of amazing views to the Santa Catalin range

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Out and Back

3,708' 1,130 m


2,718' 828 m


1,047' 319 m


1,046' 319 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

No dogs allowed since this area is part of the bighorn sheep restoration project.


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.

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.


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 hike, 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 hike 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.


Shared By:

Niall Murphy with improvements by Paul Riedinger

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 32 votes


  4.3 from 32 votes
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in Arizona


81 Views Last Month
18,610 Since Dec 16, 2015



Looking north from one of the saddles on the way to the Romero Pools. Incredible views and desert vegetation can be found along this whole trail.
Dec 17, 2015 near Oro Valley, AZ
The rocks make it appear as if you can safely cross on them. Don't be fooled, your feet are gonna get wet!
Dec 1, 2019 near Oro Valley, AZ
Looking east at the Catalina's on one of the many slightly sloping, wide parts of the trail.
Dec 12, 2020 near Oro Valley, AZ
Looking west through one a short climb. Ocotillo, misshapen rocks, and singletrack trails describe this entire section of trail.
Dec 17, 2015 near Oro Valley, AZ
The pools make a great place to cool off before heading back down. However, be careful of heavy runoff during rain storms.
Aug 7, 2017 near Oro Valley, AZ
Start of trail.
Jul 5, 2019 near Oro Valley, AZ



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 39 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Sep 25, 2022
Nate B
Sep 17, 2022
Ramya Murali
Feb 28, 2022
Tracey Ziniel
Feb 13, 2022
Lisa Munsch
Feb 12, 2022
Craig McCrindle
Jan 17, 2022
Sarah Germain
No dogs Too hard for kids Serious difficult incline - beautiful pools at end Did with Chris, Alyssa and friend Maya and they had a very hard time. 5mi
Oct 17, 2021
Josh Gibbel
Fun swimming!! 4.9mi
Feb 21, 2020
Bruce Hope
Popular trail.