Sonoita Creek State Natural Area RV & Campground Guide
Tucked away near the Arizona-Mexico border, Sonoita Creek State Natural Area is a spectacular spot where the Sonoran Desert meets the Chihuahuan Desert. Here, the calm waters of Sonoita Creek sparkle in the sunshine and rugged peaks rise in the distance. A 20-mile network of hiking trails and 8 miles of horseback riding trails wind through the hills and along the water, taking you far into the wilderness. As you explore, watch for the artifacts from the old railroad that once ran through the area.
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area sits 3,500 feet above sea level — this means it offers a warm, pleasant respite from the scorching heat at lower elevations in nearby Tucson and Nogales. As you’re packing, keep in mind that temperatures can vary wildly; the coldest month of January sees temperatures between 27 degrees and 64 degrees while June days can be as cold as 54 degrees and as hot as 96 degrees (spring and fall temperatures hover around 78 degrees).
RV Resorts & Campsites in Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Given its remote location, an RV is the perfect way to experience Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. In the winter, a motorhome offers shelter from cool evening winds; in the summer, it provides a shady spot to rest.
Patagonia Lake State Park Campground
For RV camping, the closest option to Sonoita Creek State Natural Area is Patagonia Lake State Park campground; in fact, you can hike right into the natural area from the park. With more than 100 campsites, each with a fire ring and a picnic table, this is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors. Every site comes with electric hookups in 20/30/50-amp service. Be sure to check the site length when you book online, particularly if you’re coming in a big rig. Extra vehicles come with an additional fee; this amount does not apply to a car that you’re towing behind an RV. Sites start at $25. Nearby, you’ll find opportunities for boating, hiking, swimming, and fishing.
Patagonia RV Park
Looking for a luxurious camping experience? Drive about 12 miles from the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area to Patagonia RV Park. This park offers 30 sites, each with full hookups. Coming in a bigger RV? Book one of the six pull-through sites for easy camp setup. Within the park, you’ll find a handy camp store, a laundry room, and a game room. Plus, every site comes with free wireless internet that reaches to every corner of the park. Depending on the site you book, you can wake up to views of the Santa Rita Mountains. Sites start at $35 per day with discounts for weekly and monthly stays. Expect to pay a slightly higher rate if you need 50-amp electric hookups.
Mountain View RV Ranch
About 38 miles from the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Mountain View RV Ranch is a fun option for families. Here, you can camp beneath Elephant Head Mountain and enjoy excellent hiking right from your site. Inside the park, cool off in the pool or get online with the free Wi-Fi connection. Everyone is welcome to use games like cornhole and shipboard, and the community fire pit is a great place to make friends. With the on-site general store, laundry room, and shower houses, you’ll have everything you need. Plus, there’s a huge network of trails nearby for hiking, ATV riding, and horseback riding. Most sites offer full hookups for about $32 per night; you can also opt for a dry campsite for $21 per night or an electric-only site for $24 per night.
White Rock Campground
If you have a very small RV or trailer, head to White Rock Campground. Located about 27 miles from Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, this is the perfect place to get off the grid. However, sites are small, so it only accepts RVs and trailers of 22 feet or smaller. Since the campground sits next to Peña Blanca Creek, you can fall asleep to the sound of running water. Nearby, Peña Blanca Lake offers a great place to relax. This campground is dry, and no water is available, but it does offer toilets. Sites are $15 per night.
RV Rentals Near Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
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What to Do at
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Inside Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Inside Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, the most popular activity is hiking; with more than 20 miles of trails to explore, you can choose to stay near other hikers or enjoy the wilderness on your own. Hike along the New Mexico & Arizona Railroad trail for excellent water views and an easy walk into nearby Patagonia Lake State Park. For the most remote walk, hike the Coal Mine Spring loop. The reserve is also popular with birders who come to see the elegant trogon, black-capped gnatcatcher, and the rufous-backed robin (check the schedule because you might be lucky enough to join a birding hike or boat tour). If you’d like to know about the geography or the history of the area, pop over to the visitor center in the state park.
How to Get to
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
If you’re driving to Sonoita Creek State Natural Area in an RV, the easiest option is to take Interstate 19. Then, get on Highway 82 north to head to the park. From Tombstone, simply take Highway 82 west.
Entering Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
The entrance gates for Sonoita Creek State Natural Area entrance are open 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, it's open 24 hours a day for campers.
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area Per vehicle : $15.0
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area Individual : $3.0
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area Primitive hike-in site : $17.0
Frequently Asked Questions About Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Unfortunately, there aren't any RV campsites at Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. The park does feature a few hike-in primitive campsites, but they aren't accessible for vehicles. You have to hike about four miles to reach the sites.
You're permitted to bring your pets with you to Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, but you'll need to clean up after them and keep them leashed. Additionally, all dogs need to be licensed, tagged, and vaccinated.
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area has a very warm climate. During summer, it can be very humid with temperatures as high as 95 degrees. The winters range between 27 and 66 degrees.
You'll find the most pleasant conditions if you visit the park during the late spring or early fall. During those times, it will be comfortably warm, but it won't be too hot or balmy.
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area is inhabited by many interesting wildlife species, such as javelina, snakes, raccoons, coatis, skunks, deer, jackrabbits, mountain lions, bobcats, ringtails, and over 300 bird species.
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