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
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.
Camping fee is $18.00 per night or Senior or Access Pass fee is $9.00 per night with a valid pass per site. No more than 8 people per numbered site, including children and visitors. Second 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. Group Sites (65&66)$32.00 a night , Max 18 people, max 5 cars(2 come with site)
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 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 Wilderness
In the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of Tucson, between mile posts 21 and 22 on the Catalina Highway.
Santa Catalina Ranger District
Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700
Directions: 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.