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Feb 15, 2017
YEARNING TO SEE TOWERING, GIANT SAGUAROS IN THEIR NATIVE ENVIRONMENT? SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK PROTECTS AND PRESERVES A GIANT SAGUARO CACTUS FOREST THAT STRETCHES ACROSS THE VALLEY FLOOR NEAR TUCSON. UNIQUE TO THE SONORAN DESERT, THE PARK’S GIANT SAGUAROS SOMETIMES REACH AS MUCH AS 50 FEET IN HEIGHT AND CAN LIVE LONGER THAN 200 YEARS – SO IT’S NO WONDER THEY’VE BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE KINGS OF THE SONORAN DESERT.
THE CITY OF TUCSON DIVIDES SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK INTO TWO DISTRICTS – THE TUCSON MOUNTAIN DISTRICT TO THE WEST AND RINCON MOUNTAIN DISTRICT TO THE EAST, EACH LOCATED ABOUT 30 MINUTES OUTSIDE THE CITY.
First designated as Saguaro National Monument in 1933, the area received national park status in 1994. It is also the ancestral home of the Tohono O’odham people, who today continue to play a role in the park’s culture, visiting every year in the early summer to pick saguaro fruit.
In addition to a broad expanse of desert, Saguaro National Park features mountainous regions – some reaching more than 8,000 feet above sea level – where pine and coniferous forests form a canvas of greenery. These varied landscapes provide ideal habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna, including wildlife such as javelina, coyote, quail, and desert tortoise in the lower elevations and black bear, deer, and Mexican spotted owl in the upper elevations
Start your visit at the visitor center of either one of the Saguaro National Park districts. Here, you can take in museum exhibits, informational slide shows, cactus gardens, or shop at the Western National Parks Association Bookstore. The visitor centers are also the starting point for numerous hiking trails and scenic drives.
Guided walks led by visitor center staff are also available – giving you the best close-up experience with some of the most notable areas of the park.
Tucson enjoys a wide variety of hotels, motels, upscale resorts, and charming bed and breakfasts. Whether you choose to stay in the picturesque foothills or in the center of town, you’ll love exploring the city during your stay. Or consider camping in the backcountry of the Rincon Mountain District. You can get a permit at the visitor center – contact the park for more information.
Entrance fees allow for admission to Saguaro National Park for seven days and includes both the Tucson Mountain District (West) and the Rincon Mountain District (East).
In the Tucson Mountain District (west), the park is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset daily. (Actual times vary throughout the year).
The Rincon Mountain District (east), the park is open to vehicles from 7 a.m. (if staffing permits, gates may open earlier) to sunset daily.
You can walk or bike into the park 24 hours a day.
Visitor Centers (includes both east and west): Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Christmas day.
Saguaro National Park
3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730