Spencer Canyon Campground

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

This mountain campground is located at the head of a shallow, forested canyon a short distance off the Catalina Highway. Spencer Canyon faces the city of Tucson and the Santa Cruz Valley, both of which are visible as a distant panorama through openings in the forest canopy.

Days and nights are cool even in summer at this high elevation. Trees and rocks throughout the campground enhance the privacy of the campsites. These natural features also provide habitat for the wild animals. Among the more permanent residents of the area are Abert’s squirrels, which are commonly seen but quite uncommon in appearance with their silver-grey tails and tuft-tipped ears.

Another frequently encountered creature here in the southwest mountains is the Steller’s jay. These bold birds are blue in color, but they’re not a true “blue jay.” Blue jays live farther east in North America. Steller’s jays are noisy and curious Westerners who will come right into your camp if you stray from it.

The Catalina Highway is paved, but it can be snow covered in winter when chains and/or 4-wheel drive may be required.

Accessible to persons with disabilities.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Opening and Closing are weather dependent. Please be advised that this campground is ran by a concessionaire and can close at any time in Oct. Please call 520-576-1492 for more info.
Operational Hours: Open April to October weather dependant. Opens April 22, 2016 Campground is run by Recreation Resource Management – a concessionaire under permit with the Coronado National Forest.  The Interagency Senior and Access Pass is good for a 50% discount on camping fee only.
Reservations:   Spencer campground is at the highest elevation and has 68 first come first served sites.  There are no RV hook-ups available.  Fire pits, grills, and tables are available at the sites.  All campgrounds have potable water and vault toilets.
Area Amenities: Tent camping,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
Fees Camping fee is $22.00 per night for Single Family site.  No more than 6 people per numbered site, including children and visitors.  Double Family site is $36.00.  Extra vehicle is $9.00 per night per site.  No more than two vehicles per site.  For the day is $9.00 per vehicle up to 6 people per vehicle and $1.00 for each person over 6 people in a vehicle.
Open Season: April - Oct.
Restrictions: No hook-ups. Tents, trailers to 22', and small motor homes permitted. Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in campground. A large area of nearby Pusch Ridge Wilderness is closed to dogs from January to April for the protection of desert bighorn sheep. Though dogs are allowed in the campground, you are not allowed to take them on hikes into the Sheep Closure Area of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness from January to April.
Closest Towns: In the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of Tucson, between mile posts 21 and 22 on the Catalina Highway.
Water: Drinking water
Restroom: Toilets
Operated By: Santa Catalina Ranger District
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700

General Information


From Tucson, E. on Tanque Verde. N. on Catalina Highway. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary (Mile Post 0), then continue 21.5 miles to Spencer Canyon Campground on the left (west) side of the road.

Recreation Map

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Camping & Cabins

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RV Camping

Hours of Operation: Check out time for campers and Day Users in camsites is by 3:00 P.M.

Campground Camping

Cool forest setting. Mountain atmosphere. Views through the trees. Barrier-free access. Tents, trailers to 22 feet and small motor homes permitted. Tables and fire grills.

No. of Sites 2 barrier-free acces. 60 single units
No. of Accessible sites Accessible to persons with disabilities.


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Picnic tables
Tent camping
Drinking water
Areas & Activities


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  Elevation : 
8,000 feet