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Saguaro National Park

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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

Local Info

In the east district, bicycles are permitted on the Cactus Forest Loop road, the Cactus Forest Trail and the Hope Camp Trail. In the west district, bicycling is only permitted on the roads; there are no trails open to biking in this district. For more information on biking in the park, visit the park's website.

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 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, and the fee for this permit is $8 per campsite, per night. All campsites are hike-in only. To learn more about camping in the park, visit the park's website.

  • Manning Camp: 6 sites, $8 per campsite, per night.
  • Spud Rock Spring: 3 sites, $8 per campsite, per night.
  • Happy Valley Saddle: 3 sites, $8 per campsite, per night.
  • Juniper Basin: 3 sites, $8 per campsite, per night.
  • Douglas Spring: 3 sites, $8 per campsite, per night.

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.

After the Ride: Local Favorites

Beyond Bread Exchange your side for a small tomato basil soup. Delicious!
Serial Grillers Check out Serial Grillerz as it was featured on Eat Street for frighteningly fantastic burgers n sandwiches
Graze You want the Sriracha mayo with the fries. And you're welcome.
Frankie's South Philly Cheesesteaks and Hoagies Get the cheese wit! It's steak with Cheez Wiz. It sounds gross, but tastes awesome!
Sauce Turkey panini 
Beyond Bread Sundays, be here and order the soup of the day...Cream of Chicken and Dumpling Soup!
Fiamme Pizza My new favorite place for Pizza Napoli
4704 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson AZ — (520) 529-5777
Prep & Pastry Great food! The best spot for breakfast in Tucson!
Sher-E-Punjab $8 lunch buffet rocks!
853 E Grant Rd, Tucson AZ — (520) 624-9393
Rosa's The salsa will cure what ails you!
Reforma Cocina y Cantina Margarita Monday are fabulous but they have great happy specials every day 4-6 PM! Nachos are pretty filling. Love the sangria too!
Zinburger If you're not looking to build your own burger, go for the Samburger, a bacon cheeseburger taken to the max.
1865 E River Rd, Tucson AZ — (520) 299-7799
P.F. Chang's Make sure you sit at the bar, service is prompt and personable. The manager is super nice. And make sure you ask for Sydney the bartender.....the best!!!!
NoRTH Sunday is all day Happy hour
2995 E Skyline Dr, Tucson AZ — (520) 299-1600
Blanco Carnita tacos with a white house margarita and black beans!
2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson AZ — (520) 232-1007
In-N-Out Burger Employees here are seriously the nicest ever. I know In-N-Out is known for their great service, but this is the best of the ones I've visited.
4620 N Oracle Rd, Tucson AZ — (800) 786-1000
Oregano's The pizza was awesome but pricey. The salads are a meal on there own. Definitely recommend a visit if you haven't tried Oregano's.
Sauce Pizza & Wine Pizza and wine! And tiramisu!!!
7117 N Oracle Rd, Tucson AZ — (520) 297-8575
In-N-Out Burger Run into everyone you went to high school with who you hate!

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.

Areas Within Saguaro National Park

Trails in Saguaro National Park - 3

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Tanque Verde, AZ
2.6 mi 4.1 km Tanque Verde, AZ
Vail, AZ
35.9 mi 57.7 km Vail, AZ
2.9 mi 4.7 km
#3 Hope Camp Trail
Vail, AZ
2.9 mi 4.7 km Vail, AZ

Photos of Saguaro National Park - 6

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