Middle Bear Picnic Area

Area Status: Open

Middle Bear Picnic Area

Bear Canyon is one of the deepest and longest rifts cut into the Santa Catalina range. Within its far-reaching canyon walls, all seven of the life zones that grace the mountain can be found. The Middle Bear Picnic Area is located in the canyon’s upper reaches where the gorge it has cut into the mountain’s slopes provides a route for a short stretch of the Catalina Highway. Sites here are shaded by ponderosa pines which grow in the protected confines of the canyon. Views from Bear Canyon include an area of the Santa Catalina Mountains where the slopes are covered with a jumble of boulders weathered into an unlikely collection of balanced rocks, pinnacles, arches and towers. This natural sculpture gallery is visible through the trees that shade the picnic area. While you’re enjoying your lunch you might want to take advantage of this opportunity to see how good you are at picking out identifiable images among the rock sculptures scattered across the side of the mountain.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
Day-use: $8 per vehicle
Weekly: $10 per vehicle
Buy a pass online, or purchase a pass on-site with cash or check. Proof of payment, or a valid Coronado National Forest Annual Pass or Interagency (America the Beautiful) Pass, including the Annual, Senior, Access, or Military Pass, must be displayed on the driver's side of the vehicle dashboard. Learn more about accepted passes.
Restrictions: Camping is not permitted. No trailers permitted. Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in picnic area.
Closest Towns: Northeast of Tucson, between mile posts 11 and 12 on the Catalina Highway.
Water: No drinking water is available.
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Santa Catalina Ranger District

General Information


Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 11.4 miles to the picnic area.


Accessible to persons with disabilities.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Canyon setting, shaded sites, picturesque rocks. Tables and fire grills.

No. of Sites 8


Picnic tables: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Accessible: Yes

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
5,800 feet