Popular for hiking and camping, the Santa Catalina Mountains has also been a home and workplace for centuries among waves of inhabitants.
The Santa Catalina Mountains is an oasis surrounded by the Sonoran desert. From its 2,000 foot sea level base of Saguaro cacti, the mountain range rises near 9,000 feet with thick forests and huge granite boulders.
This section of Tucson Entertainment Magazine explores the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson with history, legends, photos, locations and directions, and hiking and treasure hunting tips.
Explore the legends and history of the Santa Catalina Mountains
DOWNLOAD FREE SAMPLE PDF of "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains"
Inside the Catalina Mountains
Hiking and Camping
Most Fees to Catalinas Dropped
Almost all of the user fees to hike or camp in the Santa Catalina Mountains have been eliminated. The U.S. Forest Service announced it will only charge fees at 11 of 28 developed recreation sites, mostly along the Mt. Lemmon Catalina Highway. Those fees remain at $5 a day or $20 for an annual pass. Rose Canyon and Spencer Canyon campgrounds are managed by concessionaires who still charge for their services. Drivers who go straight to Summerhaven do not have to pay a fee.
The fees were dropped as a result of a lawsuit filed over the collection of user fees. Fees are still charged at Sabino Canyon, Catalina State Park and Madera Canyon. Signs are posted in all areas where fees are still charged.
Mysteries in the Santa Catalina Mountains
The Catalinas are filled with rich legends the Iron Door Mine, the Lost City and the Lost Mission. The mountains are also filled with gold, silver and copper. Much of those treasures are already extracted from mining ventures over the past few hundred years, dating from Spanish colonial times in Pimeria Alta. Those massive mountains are not as serene as you might think.
Read pages from a new book about the history and legends of the Santa Catalinas. called "Mysteries in the Santa Catalinas." Available on amazon.com.
Prospecting for Gold with Flint Carter
Join Flint Carter on a journey through the back hills of the Santa Catalina Mountains to find gold. Explore Campo Bonito and the Cañada del Oro - Canyon of Gold. Watch more videos of the history and legends of the Santa Catalinas.
Mining in the Catalinas
The Santa Catalina Mountains became valued for its copper and other precious metals in the late 1800s through the mid 1940s.
This period of mining brought hundreds of people to live and work throughout the mountains from Mt. Lemmon to Oracle. Such notables as W.F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody owned extensive mining claims in the back hills.
There's also gold in the Catalinas. Numerous Native American tribes lived in and around the mountain range thousands of years before the Spanish Jesuits arrived in the 1700s. Read about the hunt for gold in the Santa Catalinas.
Legends of the Catalinas
As several missions were established in the valley near the Santa Cruz river, some reports included mining operations by the Jesuits deep inside of the Catalina Mountains. Read about the mine with the iron door and lost mission of the Catalinas and about all the legends and history of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Own a piece of Mt. Lemmon
Extremely rare serpentine with white quartz, gold, silver and copper ores from mines miles within Tucson's Mt. Lemmon and Santa Catalina mountains. Unique, one-of-a-kind specimens, southwestern artwork and fashioned jewelry by local artist Flint Carter.
Authentic salsa from El Charro Cafe in Tucson, AZ. Contains: crushed tomatoes (tomatoes, salt, citric acid), water, salsa (onions, salt, garlic, white vinegar, canola oil, chiltipin pepper, oregano), tomato puree (water, tomato paste citric acid), citric acid. More from El Charro Café
Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains
Discover the legends and rich history of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Learn about the Iron Door Mine, Spanish Jesuit treasures, Buffalo Bill's mines, gold mining in Oracle when pioneers arrived to prospect the Catalina Mountains. Visit the "Treasures of the Santa Catalinas" and read stories forgotten in time. Available at a discount on Amazon.
"Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades"
Read about the local Tucson entertainment scene from the 1950s through the 1990s. Over 700 pages of pages of musician interviews, thousands of local musicians, original photographs and stories. If you played in a band or went to a nightclub during those years, you'll be familiar with many of these people and places. Published by Entertainment Magazine. Read sample pages Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades. Find your name or photo! Now available, at a discount, on Amazon.com.