Subi & The 5

Gilbert Ray Campground – Tucson, Arizona

It’s that time of year for us to make our annual pilgrimage to Tucson to do some hiking and visit with friends. We like to find a campground near hiking trails to start off the trip and then finish up with staying with friends on their land. Of course, finding a campground in March in southern Arizona is quite the task. But I worked hard and was persistent until I found a site available. It required checking campgrounds multiple times a day waiting for someone to cancel and sure enough, boom, there was a cancellation and I quickly booked a site at Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson. Off we went!

Gilbert Ray Campground is a small, quiet, county owned campground sitting in Tucson Mountain Park next to Old Tucson Studios and close to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. You can see Old Tucson Studios to the left of the campground in the photo below.

Campground: Gilbert Ray Campground
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Site: A44 (back-in)
Cost: $35
Services: E (50 AMP) – a new upgrade as it used to be 30AMP
Comments: A lovely campground with most sites offering nice privacy and terrific views. Our site, A44, was a bit uneven so it took us a bit to get level but we managed. The Saguaro National Park Red Hills Visitor Center is about 4 miles from the campground. We had terrific sunset views every night. It can be a bit windy there at times so no campfires are allowed.

The campground has 130 RV sites with electric and there is a dump station on-site. The campground advertises 30AMP sites but our site had 50AMP this time and we noticed that two loops are being closed in May for updates to their electric. There are 4 loops, A, B (tents only), C, and H. We have only stayed in loop A and after walking through all the loops we think they are pretty equivalent with great sites, OK sites, and not so OK sites. Loop C has some sites with some pretty terrific views with site C23 being our favorite. It is a nice pull thru on the outer west side of the loop with no other sites around it and with great views of the mountains.

Tucson Mountain Park – Brown Mountain Trail

Tucson Mountain Park is run by Pima County, is approximately 20,000 acres and offers 62 miles of non-motorized shared use trails. Brown Mountain Trailhead is located right next to the campground entrance and made a perfect day hiking trip. The trail is a 4.5 mile loop (length debated by many) that can be hiked either clockwise or counter clockwise. We hiked it clockwise which meant we hiked the steep section first up the mountain, then hiked along the ridge towards the Sonora Desert Museum, and then back down the mountain and around. It was a great hike and since the trailhead was approximately a one mile hike each way from our campsite we logged close to 7 miles for the day.

We stopped atop the ridge for a few photos and a short rest and water break before continuing along the ridge and back down the mountain.

The desert was full of saguaros (actually a sea of saguaros) which is no surprise since Saguaro National Park is just a few miles away.

It was a terrific hike and one that we hope to do again soon.

Old Tucson Studios

Across the street from the campground is Old Tucson Studios which is now a theme park. It was built in 1939 and used a film set and for over 300 western movies and TV shows. There are shootouts, shows, tours, and rides available. Your typical commercial enterprise (and crowds)!

It is about a 5 minute walk from our campsite so we strolled over there and checked it out. We didn’t pay to go in but just walked around the outside of it and into the gift shop. We could hear the gunfights from outside the studios. On the way out a Cybertruck pulled right in front of us while I was trying to take a picture of the entrance so there you go!

Off to our next adventure to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…in our next post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.