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Saguaro National Park

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Overview

Saguaro National Park is home to the giant saguaro, a universal symbol of the American west and the nation's largest cacti. Only found in a small portion of the U.S., these majestic behemoths are preserved in the desert landscape of the park. Visitors have the chance to see these enormous cacti in the two districts of Saguaro National Park which are separated by Tucson's 1 million residents. The Rincon Mountain District to the east and the Tucson Mountain District to the west are approximately 30 miles (45-60 minutes) apart. The Tucson Mountain District boasts large stands of saguaro cactus creating a magnificent saguaro forest, whereas the Rincon Mountain District hosts a breathtaking sky island, where you can find cougars, bears, and the ever elusive coati. Combined, the two districts offer more than 165 miles of trails for visitors to explore.

To learn more about Saguaro National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
  • Rincon Mountain District Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm, daily. Closed on Christmas Day.
  • Red Hills Tucson Mountain District Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm, daily. Closed on Christmas Day.

Visiting Tips

Saguaro National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Rincon Mountain District (east) is open to vehicles from 7 a.m. (if staffing permits, gates may open earlier) to sunset daily. The Tucson Mountain District (west) is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset daily. (Actual times vary throughout the year.)

The peak season for the park ranges from late fall to early spring, when the temperatures are more moderate ranging from the low 50's to high 70's. The summer season from late spring to early fall tends to be less busy, and visitors should come prepared for hot and dry conditions with temperatures ranging from the mid-80's to lower 100's. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection if visiting during the hotter months.

Fees & Passes
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
Camping is allowed at the six designated campgrounds within the Saguaro Wilderness Area located in the Rincon Mountain District. A permit is required for all overnight stays. All campsites are hike-in only. To learn more about camping in the park, visit the park's website.

  • Manning Camp: 6 sites.
  • Spud Rock Spring: 3 sites.
  • Happy Valley Saddle: 3 sites.
  • Juniper Basin: 3 sites.
  • Douglas Spring: 3 sites.

Lodging:
There is no lodging located within the park. Visitors looking to extend their stay have a variety of lodging options in the conveniently located city of Tucson.

Food & Drink

There are no dining options located within the park. Visitors should come prepared with adequate food and water for their time in the park. There are six picnic areas each equipped with a picnic table, charcoal grill, and pit toilet. Mica View and Javelina are located in the Rincon Mountain District, and Sus, Signal Hill, Cam-boh and Ez-kim-in-zin are located in the Tucson Mountain District. The nearby city of Tucson has a wide variety of restaurants and grocery stores.

Other Activities

Saguaro National Park has a host of recreational opportunities for visitors to explore the amazing desert landscape. Whether taking a scenic auto or bike tour, hiking on one of the many trails in the park, backpacking and camping into the Saguaro Wilderness area, participating in a ranger-led program, or simply having a picnic at a scenic spot in the park, visitors will not be disappointed with the many ways to explore the park. For other activities in the area, check out the great options for mountain biking and bouldering in the Tucson area.

Gems in Saguaro National Park - 5

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gem Favorite Bridal Wreath Falls

Bridal Wreath Falls

(17) Tanque…, AZ
gem Favorite The cabin at Manning Camp

Manning Camp

(5) Tanque…, AZ
gem Favorite Looking west from Wasson Peak.

Wasson Peak

(16) Tucson…, AZ
gem Favorite The rocky summit of Rincon Peak rises out of ponderosa pine forests.

Rincon Peak

(4) Mescal, AZ
gem Favorite Rewarding journey to the top of Signal Hill reveals many petroglyphs. Even the rock squirrel is taking in the view.

Signal Hill Petroglyphs

(13) Picture…, AZ

Recommended Routes in Saguaro National Park - 9

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Favorite Bridal Wreath Falls
Intermediate

Bridal Wreath Falls

5.8 mi 9.4 km 1,066' Up 325 m Up 1,066' Down 324.96 m Down

Tanque…, AZ
Favorite December is  fine time to hike Rincon Peak.
Difficult

Rincon Peak

14.4 mi 23.2 km 4,288' Up 1306.93 m Up 4,288' Down 1306.92 m Down

Mescal, AZ
Favorite Looking south toward the Rincons.
Easy/Intermediate

Wildhorse to Douglas Springs Loop

3.1 mi 4.9 km 157' Up 47.95 m Up 152' Down 46.19 m Down

Tanque…, AZ
Favorite View west from the saddle below Wasson Peak
Intermediate/Difficult

Wasson Peak Summit

9.4 mi 15.1 km 2,113' Up 644.1 m Up 2,113' Down 644.01 m Down

Flowing…, AZ
Favorite Stafford Peak trail looking west toward the peak!
Difficult

Safford Peak

3.4 mi 5.5 km 1,490' Up 454.08 m Up 1,489' Down 453.96 m Down

Picture…, AZ
Favorite California poppies. EVERYWHERE!
Intermediate/Difficult

Wasson Peak - Hugh Norris

9.8 mi 15.8 km 2,496' Up 760.88 m Up 2,496' Down 760.81 m Down

Picture…, AZ
Favorite California poppies. EVERYWHERE!
Intermediate/Difficult

Wasson Peak Circle Route

8.4 mi 13.5 km 1,905' Up 580.66 m Up 1,912' Down 582.77 m Down

Tucson…, AZ
Favorite Bridal Wreath Falls
Intermediate

Bridal Wreath Falls Loop

7.3 mi 11.8 km 1,155' Up 351.95 m Up 1,154' Down 351.64 m Down

Tanque…, AZ
Favorite Mica View Trail looking north at Catalina Mountains. While the trail is wide and smooth, look out for the jumping cactus.
Easy

Mica View - Cactus Forest Mini Loop

2.1 mi 3.4 km 94' Up 28.72 m Up 93' Down 28.49 m Down

Tanque…, AZ

Saguaro National Park Running

  • 275 Miles 442 Kilometers of Trail
  • 9 Recommended Routes
  • 5 Gems Gems
  • 37 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 54 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 16 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Saguaro National Park

Weather Averages


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Trails in Saguaro National Park - 98

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10.2 mi 16.5 km #1Douglas Springs Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Tanque Verde, AZ
Intermediate/Difficult
Tanque Verde, AZ 11 
0.3 mi 0.5 km #2Bridal Wreath Falls Trail
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
11.0 mi 17.8 km #3Tanque Verde Ridge Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Tanque Verde, AZ
Intermediate/Difficult
Tanque Verde, AZ 11 
2.2 mi 3.5 km #4Three Tank Trail
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
1.0 mi 1.7 km #5Bajada Wash Trail
Easy
Tanque Verde, AZ
Easy
Tanque Verde, AZ
1.0 mi 1.6 km #6Mica View Trail
Easy
Tanque Verde, AZ
Easy
Tanque Verde, AZ
5.3 mi 8.6 km #7Cactus Forest Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
Easy/Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
3.6 mi 5.8 km #8Carrillo Trail
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
Intermediate
Tanque Verde, AZ
4.9 mi 7.9 km #9Turkey Creek Trail
Difficult
Mescal, AZ
Difficult
Mescal, AZ
0.7 mi 1.1 km #10Belmont Trail
Easy
Casas Adobes, AZ
Easy
Casas Adobes, AZ

Photos of Saguaro National Park - 289

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Snow and rain in the Desert - on the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail
Apr 29, 2015 near Tanque…, AZ
Funky Saguaro
May 5, 2015 near Picture…, AZ
Rewarding journey to the top of Signal Hill reveals many petroglyphs. Even the rock squirrel is taking in the view.
May 9, 2016 near Picture…, AZ
A variety of cacti exist along the Cam-Boh trail.
Jul 19, 2016 near Picture…, AZ
View west from the saddle below Wasson Peak
Mar 28, 2018 near Tucson…, AZ
California poppies. EVERYWHERE!
Mar 19, 2019 near Tucson…, AZ
Just up the trail from Grass Shack there is a large rock off trail that's great for viewing the sunset!
Jun 10, 2019 near Tanque…, AZ
December is  fine time to hike Rincon Peak.
Jan 2, 2020 near Mescal, AZ