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Overview

The rare national park on the outskirts of a major city, Saguaro has two separate divisions on the east and west sides of Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro West is more heavily visited than Saguaro East, but both parks protect large tracts of unspoiled Sonoran Desert with a special emphasis on one plant: the stately saguaro cactus. These iconic plants grow to heights of 50 feet over lifespans that can last 200 years. But they only flower once they reach adulthood, about 30 years after they first take root. The park's saguaro forests support all sorts of other plant and animal life, including numerous reptile species, boar-like javelinas, and mountain ...

The rare national park on the outskirts of a major city, Saguaro has two separate divisions on the east and west sides of Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro West is more heavily visited than Saguaro East, but both parks protect large tracts of unspoiled Sonoran Desert with a special emphasis on one plant: the stately saguaro cactus. These iconic plants grow to heights of 50 feet over lifespans that can last 200 years. But they only flower once they reach adulthood, about 30 years after they first take root. The park's saguaro forests support all sorts of other plant and animal life, including numerous reptile species, boar-like javelinas, and mountain lions. Both sections of the park are terrific for hikers. In the western section, the Hugh Norris Trail leads hikers up to a commanding view of the area from the top of 4,687-foot Wasson Peak. On the east side, the Tanque Verde Ridge trail is popular with backpackers and offers a look at the varied plant life in the park, including saguaro as well as spidery ocotillos and prickly pear and cholla cacti. But because of the proximity of Tucson, saguaro is one of the best parks to get dirty during the day and then clean up and hit a nightspot like Club Congress after dark.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Saguaro National Park has two districts. The Rincon Mountain District is located to the east of Tucson Arizona and the Tucson Mountain District is located to the west of Tucson AZ.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall through spring; winters are mild; July through September can be rainy.