Arizona is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park. The park is split into two sections, separated by the city of Tucson: the Tucson Mountain District on the west, and the Rincon Mountain District to the east. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset.
We only visited the eastern district which includes a healthy saguaro forest at the foot of the Rincon Mountains and a variety of other desert communities. We stayed half a day in the park.
Rincon Mountain District
At the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center you will find books, brochures, trail and drive guides, maps, exhibits, and a slide program on the saguaro and Sonoran Desert. Rangers can answer questions and help you plan your visit.
At the visitor center begins a paved one-way road, the Cactus Forest Drive. This 8-mile scenic loop drive winds through a saguaro forest and offers a close look at a variety of Sonoran Desert life.
Trails along the Cactus Forest Drive are suitable for short (and easy) hikes into the desert environment.
- Desert Ecology Trail: a 0.25-mile round trip an paved, self-guiding trail
- Freeman Homestead Trail: a 1-mile loop hike to learn about homesteading in the desert as well as modern Tucson
Where to sleep?
You won´t find any hotel within the park, but there are a lot of lodging options in Tucson. We recommend the following hotel.
Staybridge Suites Tucson Airport
National Park Service
Saguaro National Park: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/
Staybridge Suites Tucson Airport: https://www.ihg.com/staybridge/hotels/us/en/tucson/tussb/hoteldetail