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Saguaro National Park. Tucson AZ.

The giant saguaro cactus stands out as a symbol of the American southwest. However these spectacular plants are only found in the Sonoran Desert and only in a few sections of this desert. Saguaro National Park is one of those places. Saguaro National Park is located outside of Tucson, Arizona and protects forests of these unique and unforgettable cactus plants.

Saguaro National Park

The park is divided into two districts, the Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District. Each district is on either side of Tucson and located about 30 miles apart from each other. It takes roughly an hour to drive between the two districts as you must navigate the city of Tucson.

Tucson Mountain District. Saguaro West.

Saguaro National Park - Tucson AZThe Tucson Mountain District is also called Saguaro West. It has its own visitor center called the Red Hills Visitor Center which offers an orientation program about the Native American perspective on saguaros.

Hiking this district ranges from easy nature trails to rugged, switchbacks. Bring plenty of water as temperatures can exceed 100 degrees during the summer. Even in more temperate seasons, stay hydrated.

Equestrians and hikers share the Cam-Boh Trail. This 2.7 mile (one way) trail is a major connector between the east and west parts of the Tucson Mountain District.

A six mile gravel loop, Bajada Loop Drive, is an excellent loop for bicyclists. This is a scenic route through lower elevations and is open to vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.

Hundreds of ancient petroglyphs can be seen along the half mile Signal Hill Petroglyphs Trail. While rough in spots, this trail is relatively easy to traverse the rocky hilltop. A nearby picnic area makes a nice spot for enjoying a snack or picnic lunch.

Rincon Mountain District. Saguaro East.

Rincon Mountain District, also known as Saguaro East, offers numerous hiking trails, a fantastic saguaro forest and a scenic auto bike tour with stunning scenery and views of the Rincon Mountains. The Cactus Forest Loop Drive is open to bicyclists and cars and loops around for eight miles.

Cactus Forest Drive is a spectacular drive with numerous hiking trails designed to get you out of the car and amongst these magnificent saguaros. An easy stroll is the Desert Ecology Trail, a quarter mile round-trip paved trail that is wheelchair accessible and informative. You’ll be introduced to the plants and animals that live in the Sonoran Desert.

A one mile round-trip trail leads you to the Freeman Homestead where you can visit an old homestead site and see a grove of giant saguaros.

The Cactus Forest Trail is the only trail in the park designated for bicycle use. This is an easy trail shared by hikers, bicyclists and livestock that ranges from 2 to 3 miles round trip depending on your access spot.

Access to the Saguaro Wilderness Area in the Rincon Mountain District is available for camping by permit. In addition, livestock defined as donkeys, horses and mules are permitted here. Over 100 miles of trails open to livestock use are available in the 57,000 acre wilderness. The wilderness encompasses desert, grassland, oak woodland, pine forests and mixed conifer forests.

Hours and Fees

Hours: 7:00 AM to sunset daily, year round.

The entrance fee at both districts of the park is $10 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days. Bicyclists, motorcycles and pedestrians get in for $5, also valid for 7 days.

Both visitor Centers are open from 9:00 to 5:00 daily. Closed on Christmas Day.

Passes

Locals may be interested in purchasing an annual pass to Saguaro National Park for $25. They can come and go all year long with this pass.

A National Parks Pass for $50 allows access to all National Parks for a term of one year from the month of purchase.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents over age 62 are eligible to purchase a $10 Golden Age Passport which allows access to National Parks for life.

Permanently disabled U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to receive a free Golden Access Passport allowing free access to National Parks for life.

For more information

Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, Arizona 85730

Rincon Mountain District Visitor Center
(520) 733-5153

Tucson Mountain District Visitor Center
(520) 733-5158

 


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East & West Saguaro National Park