Southern Arizona State Parks Guide

The weather is perfect outside. Time to visit a state park, but which one?

Arizona State Parks and Trails is dedicated to preserving the state’s historic and outdoor treasures for present and future generations. Enjoy the beautiful splendor of the southern desert landscape or learn more about the state’s rich history! Experience the natural environment that inspired artists like Ansel Adams, Ed Mell, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Wherever you choose to find adventure, Arizona State Parks and Trails encourages you to discover Arizona!

Hike through desert landscape at Oracle State Park with its 15 miles of natural trail, nestled in the charming small town of Oracle. Or check out desert plants from around the world at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park in Superior.

Set a goal of climbing some of the major peaks in southern Arizona! Bring a set of gloves for gripping the support cables at Picacho Peak State Park! Challenge yourself at Lost Dutchman State Park by tackling the Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the flatiron!

Or plan an overnight camping adventure in the Santa Catalina Mountains starting from Catalina State Park in northern Tucson. Just make sure you bring sun protection, good hiking shoes, and plenty of water. Travel back to turn-of-the-century Arizona when you visit Florence and stop by McFarland State Historic Park.

Learn more about the mythology of the OK Corral and the American Old West at Tombstone State Historic Park (stick around for a shootout or check out the latest exhibit about Wyatt Earp). Head south of Tucson and stop at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, Arizona’ s first state park, and learn how Spanish colonialism defined Arizona and the American West.

Beat the desert heat and stop at any of our beautiful lake parks. Patagonia Lake State Park has a soft white sand beach and lots of shoreline camping (bring your boat or rent a kayak to get out on the water!). Enjoy swimming, boating, camping, and fishing at Roper Lake State Park in Safford, or take a short drive south of Roper to Dankworth Pond State Park, where you can toss a line to catch your first fish or put your paddle watercraft on the water and float around the lake.

With all that southern Arizona has to offer, the ultimate treasure lies underground south of Benson at Kartchner Caverns State Park. Winner of USA Today’s Readers Poll for “Best Arizona Attraction” and “Best Cave in the USA,” Kartchner Caverns is a wonderland of dazzling cave formations with a first-rate education center about the cave, geology, the desert landscape, and the various wildlife that surround the park.

All state parks are open 7 days a week, except for McFarland State Historic Park, which is closed on Sundays.