Peppersauce Campground

Area Status: Open

Peppersauce Campground

With its picturesque vegetation and dramatic setting at the foot of Mt. Lemmon, Peppersauce Campground is an outstanding area for enjoying an afternoon picnic or a weekend campout. Campsites at Peppersauce are spread throughout a creekside oasis of enormous Arizona sycamores and Arizona walnut trees that cast deep shade in summer and a touch of color in autumn.

These trees (and some notable clumps of poison ivy) cling to the banks of Peppersauce Creek, which provides sufficient moisture for them to prosper in spite of the fact that it’s rocky streambed is dry most of the year. Of course, beware of the flash floods -- this creek can become a raging torrent in minutes when there is rain in the mountains above.

This year-round facility is a popular stop among off-road vehicle enthusiasts and families. Hunting, hiking and scenic driving opportunities are nearby. It is located 8 miles from the town of Oracle.

While you’re here, you’ll want to keep an eye on your hot sauce. This canyon was named by prospector Alex McKay, who camped here in about 1880 and reported that his hot sauce came up missing. The perpetrator (if there was one) has yet to be apprehended.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Flash Flood Risk
Reservations: Reservations are available at
Area Amenities: Tent camping, Camping trailer, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: Single site: $15.  With Golden Age/Access or Interagency Senior/Access pass $7.50. Group site: $50 plus $10 per vehicle. Payable with cash or check.
Open Season: Year-round
Restrictions: RV Camping is 22 feet and less. No RV hook-ups. Trailers are discouraged as the sites are small and there are no pull-throughs. Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in campground or picnic area. Pets must leashed at all times. Please Pack it in, pack it out. Limit of 2 vehicles and 10 persons per site. Campers must occupy site for the first 24 hours. 14-day stay limit per year.
Closest Towns: 6 miles southeast of Oracle on Forest Road 38 (40 miles northeast of Tucson).
Water: Drinking water is available
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Santa Catalina Ranger District
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700

General Information


From Tucson: drive north on Oracle Road (U.S. Highway 89). Continue for 27 miles to State Highway 77. Turn right (east) and drive 10 miles to the town of Oracle. Take the first Oracle exit and travel 4 miles through the town to Forest Road 38. Follow 38 to Peppersauce Canyon.

General Notes:

Natural Features:

Campsites at Peppersauce are spread throughout a creekside oasis of enormous Arizona sycamore and walnut trees that provide shade in summer and color in autumn. The campground sits at an elevation of 4,700 feet alongside Peppersauce Creek. The creek is normally dry except during heavy rains or the area's summer monsoon season. Campers should be aware that the creek is prone to flash flooding during rain events.


The Santa Catalina Mountains are known for their exceptional hiking. Hikers can find access to the Arizona Trail, which runs from Mexico to Utah, about 5 miles from the campground along Forest Road 38. Off-road vehicle trails are also available in the area.

A few nearby caves afford visitors the opportunity for caving and spelunking.


Peppersauce Campground has one first come first serve group camping area for up to 35 people at a time $50. The facility is equipped with vault toilets, several tables and benches, a grill, campfire rings and lantern posts. The parking area can hold up to 10 vehicles. First-come, first-served individual campsites are also available.

A campground host is available on-site for visitor assistance.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

Riparian setting, picturesque trees, a long, scenic drive. Hunting. Beware of the flash floods. Tables and fire grills.
No. of Sites 17

Group Camping


Camping trailer: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Tent camping: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Drinking water: Yes

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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  Elevation : 
4,700 feet