The saguaro has been described as the monarch of the Sonoran Desert, as a prickly horror, as the supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and as a plant with personality. It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes, shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings. Giant saguaro cacti, unique to the Sonoran Desert, sometimes reach a height of 50 feet in this cactus forest, which covers the valley floor, rising into the Rincon and West Tucson mountains.
Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected
National Park. Preserved along with it are many other members of the Sonoran
Desert community--other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals. In lushness
and variety of life the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American
Basic Information for Saguaro National
Operating Hours, Seasons
Both districts of the park (east and west) are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Visitor centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except Christmas.
How to Get to Saguaro National Park
Nearest Airport to Saguaro National Park - Major airlines serve Tucson, Arizona
How to Drive to Saguaro National Park - Saguaro East,or
the Rincon Mountain District, may be reached from Tucson by traveling
east on Broadway or Speedway to Freeman Road; turn right to Old Spanish
Trail; turn left. Look for signs to park entrance. Saguaro West,or the
Tucson Mountain District, may be reached from Tucson by traveling Speedway
Road west. Speedway becomes Gates Pass Road; the road ends at Kinney Road
where you turn right and continue to the park entrance.
Note: Saguaro East and West are each about 15 miles from downtown Tucson. Along Interstate 10, there are signs directing travelers to Saguaro National Park.
Weather & Climate
Winters are delightful with mild warm days (60 degrees - 70 degrees F.) and cool nights (40 degrees F.). Summers can be extremely hot with daytime temperatures of 100-115 degrees F. in the shade, and evening lows in the 80 degrees F. Long hikes are not recommended in the summer. Even short hikes require lots of water, a hat, and sun screen lotion.
The Visitor Centers are accessible to wheelchairs.
Camping at Saguaro National Park
Saguaro East - Backcountry Camping Area
Backcountry camping is permitted in Saguaro East; reservations and a free permit is required and can be obtained at the visitor center.
Activities and More Information
at Saguaro National Park
Numerous guided walks are offered at each visitor center. Published schedules of programs are available during the winter season. Special environmental education programs are frequently conducted for local school groups. Several Junior Ranger Programs are available.
Both districts have miles of trails for hiking and scenic loop drives. For more information on these trails stop at the visitor center.
Start a park visit by stopping at the visitor center for maps, information, and suggestions. Most visitors enjoy the scenic drives, bird watching, photography, hiking, and participating in guided walks.
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