|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 within Saguaro 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 deserts
- 3.3 million
- Tucson, Arizona
- 3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730-5601
- Visitor Center/Information: (520) 733-5153
Administrative Offices: (520) 733-5100
FAX: (520) 733-5183
- 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.
- CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
- Winters are delightful with mild warm days (60°- 70°F.) and cool nights
(40°F.). Summers can be extremely hot with daytime temperatures of 100-115°F. in
the shade, and evening lows in the 80°sF. Long hikes are not recommended in the
summer. Even short hikes require lots of water, a hat, and sun screen lotion.
- 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.
- Bus lines and major airlines serve Tucson which is a short drive from the park. Both
districts of the park feature scenic loop drives.
- FEES, COSTS RATES:
- The east district has a $4.00 entrance fee per private car. Golden Eagle, Golden Age,
and Golden Access Passports are honored and are available for purchase. The west district
has no entrance fee.
- FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
- Visitor Centers/Exhibits:
Both districts have visitor centers that are staffed and offer slide shows, museums,
cactus gardens, and a sales outlet.
- Trails, Roadways:
Both districts have miles of trails for hiking and scenic loop drives. For more
information on these trails stop at the visitor center.
- Programs, Activities:
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.
- Lodging and Camping Facilities:
There is no lodging or drive-in camping in the park. Lodging is abundant in Tucson and
campgrounds are available in the community. Backcountry camping is permitted in Saguaro
East; a free permit is required and can be obtained at the visitor center.
- Food, Supplies:
Food and supplies are available in Tucson.
- Other Concessions, NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities:
Visitor centers, restrooms, picnic areas, and some trails and programs are fully
- Special Needs:
- RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
- 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.
- Reservations are required for backcountry camping and for some of the interpretive
programs. No charge for the reservation. Contact the park for more information.
- BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Plan to spend a couple hours to a full day exploring the park.
- SPECIAL EVENTS/PROGRAMS:
- There are many special programs throughout the cooler months. Check at a visitor center
for a detailed list.
- VISITOR IMPACTS:
- Leave only footprints; take nothing but wonderful memories.
- ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, adjacent to Saguaro West, is a high quality,
non-profit, live animal museum. It is an excellent place to see the many residents of the
Sonoran Desert up close.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
- For additional information write:
Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730-5601
or call (520) 733-5153.