Scenic Patagonia Lake State Park is located in Santa Cruz County, only one hour south of Tucson. This picturesque lakeside public recreation area is also adjacent to a large natural wildlife preserve and access to miles of trails to explore by foot, bike or horseback.
Guests enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking and wildlife viewing during their visit to this peaceful Arizona state park.
Activities at Patagonia Lake State Park
You’ll discover plenty to keep you occupied during your visit to Patagonia Lake State Park. Enjoy lake activities, explore the trails inside the adjacent nature preserve, camp under the stars and appreciate the beauty of Southern Arizona while you relax and unwind.
The park’s amenities help ensure your stay will be comfortable and restful. Visit the Lakeside Marina for grocery items, drinks, ice cream, firewood and camping and fishing supplies. And pick up souvenirs, guides, apparel and more at the park’s store, located inside the Sonoita Creek Visitor Center.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Patagonia Lake State Park:
Swimming at Patagonia Lake State Park
The park’s Boulder Beach is a roped off designated swim area with a large sandy beach. Guests swim at their own risk and swimming is also allowed anywhere on the lake except near the boat launches.
Boating at Patagonia Lake State Park
Bring your own boat or rent one at the marina inside Patagonia Lake State Park. The marina carries rentals of canoes, paddle boats, pontoons and rowboats. And the lake’s 2 cement boat ramps can accommodate most sized boats.
Jet skis, waterbikes, personal watercraft, V-8 jet boats and above-water exhaust boats are not permitted on the lake but all other motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed. Water skiing is allowed year round but only on weekdays between May 1st and October 1st because of the large numbers of boaters on the lake.
Fishing at Patagonia Lake State Park
Catch largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie and more in the 260 acre lake at Patagonia Lake State Park. Patagonia Lake is stocked with rainbow trout during the winter and channel catfish in the summer to supplement the naturally abundant bass, bluegill and crappie populations.
Fish from the pier, shore or boat. Just remember to pick up an Arizona fishing license ahead of time; a fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 10. Fishing licenses may be purchased at the Lakeside Market inside the park.
Trails at Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia Lake State Park has one trail, the Sonoita Creek Trail, but provides access to 20 miles of trails within the Sonoita State Natural Area adjacent to the park. Eight miles of this trail system is also open for horseback riders.
Most of the trail system is remote with trails leading out to the creek as well as up to an overlook that features a spectacular 360 degree view of the land around the park.
Sonoita Creek Trail – Easy 2.6 mile trail that winds through a wooded area with bushes and brush and follows along the stream. Great trail for bird watching!
Wildlife Viewing at Patagonia Lake State Park
Look for whitetail deer, squirrels, cows, bulls, rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, javelina, waterfowl, snakes, lizards and more during your visit to this Southern Arizona state park. An abundance of wildlife lives within the park and in the Sonoita Creek Natural Area next door.
A large variety of birds may also be seen throughout the park, some you may spot here include hummingbirds, woodpeckers, thrashers, warblers, hawks and Mexican Jays and Mexican chickadees.
Camping at Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia Lake State Park has 105 modern campsites for guests with tents, campers and RVs. Each of these sites has an electric hookup, a picnic table, fire ring/grill and space to park 2 vehicles. Some sites also have a shaded ramada.
Another 2 campsites are available without electric hookups and space up to 22 ft long. These sites also have a picnic table, fire ring/grill, a ramada and space for 2 vehicles.
Twelve boat-in campsites are also available within the park. These primitive sites that are accessible only by boat have a picnic table, fire ring and access to portable toilets.
The park also has 7 camping cabins that are ADA accessible along the southeast end of the lake. These rustic cabins have beautiful views of the lake from their front porches! Each cabin has a queen sized bed, 2 sets of bunk beds, a table and chairs, mini fridge, heat/AC and electricity plus a picnic table, fire ring and BBQ grill. Bathhouses are only a short walk away.
Pets at Patagonia Lake State Park
Pets are allowed at Patagonia Lake State Park but must be attended to at all times and kept on a leash no longer than six-feet. Please clean up after your pet. A $5.00 additional fee is required per pet staying in cabin 2 or 3 (the only 2 cabins that allow pets).
Become a Junior Ranger at Patagonia Lake State Park
Junior Ranger Pledge: ‘As an Arizona State Parks Junior Ranger, I pledge to help the park rangers protect and preserve habitat, wildlife, and help keep the park clean and safe for visitors and wildlife.’
Encourage younger generations to do their part and help preserve the beauty of the parks for future visitors. If your child is between the ages of 6-12 they can become a Junior Ranger at Patagonia Lake State Park.
All they need to do is download and complete the Junior Ranger Activity Sheet and then request a Junior Ranger booklet at the park’s visitor center once you’ve arrived at the park. Complete each of the activities during your stay.
When all of the activities have been completed report back to a Park Ranger who will swear your Junior Ranger in and award them with a Junior Ranger Button. Kids can become a Junior Ranger at most Arizona State Parks and earn each park’s unique Junior Ranger Button. Check out the For Kids section on each park’s website.
Attractions Near Patagonia Lake State Park
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
This large natural area contains miles of multi-use trails that may be accessed through Patagonia Lake State Park.
Explore trails, dine out and shop for antiques, unique pieces of art and more at this cozy town only 12 miles from the park. Patagonia was a trading and supply hub during the mid 1800s for the mines and ranches nearby.
Visit the city of Tombstone
Experience this historic area up close and watch reenactments, take a stagecoach ride, shop and more on location of the OK Corral and Boot Hill Cemetery. This town that was ‘too tough to die’ is only an hour and a half drive from Patagonia Lake State Park.
Visit Mexico during your stay at Patagonia Lake State Park! The park is only 16 miles southeast of Nogales, a small town on both sides of the border and the main entry point into Mexico from Arizona. Be sure to have your passport handy and check with US Customs ahead of time for the latest information regarding border crossing.
Open year round
Gates are closed 10:00 pm until 4:00 am
Visitor Center Hours:
8:00am – 3:30pm
Daily Park Entrance Fees:
– Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $15.00–$20.00
– Individual/Bicycle: $3.00
Patagonia Lake State Park
400 Patagonia Lake Rd
Nogales, AZ 85621
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Patagonia Lake State Park: