Kelly Vaughn

Coronado National Forest, Tucson

Rose Canyon Campground has one of the prettiest names in this book, and it’s well deserved. On the banks of both Rose Creek and Rose Canyon Lake, the campground is a riparian oasis, especially after heavy rain.

Popular among anglers, it features 74 individual sites and two group areas. It’s big, but not so big that a true outdoors experience gets lost in a sea of RVs and pavement. Trout are prevalent in the lake, which lures a variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and while away the afternoon with a little bird-watching. Take a walk through the woods. Sit lakeside with a book.

No matter what you do, you’ll want to keep coming back to Rose Canyon Campground — partly for its proximity to Tucson, partly for its beauty.

Elevation: 7,000 feet
Directions: From Tucson, travel north on the Catalina Highway for 18 miles to the campground.
Information: Santa Catalina Ranger District, Coronado National Forest, 520-749-8700 or
Season: Year-round
Fee: $18 per night
Reservations: Yes
Amenities: Toilets, Pets, Water