Celebrating 100 Years of National Parks
Saguaro National Park rarely receives the credit that it deserves in terms of making top travel destination lists. If you haven’t experienced its magic first hand then please let us be the ones to introduce you to this classic playground in the wild west.
Whether you are traveling east or west, the 10 freeway runs clear through the state of Arizona. From the car window you may not see much that peaks your interest unless you are into some very questionable roadside attractions. Attending the University of Arizona for college meant driving from Orange County, CA to Tucson 3 to 4 times a year allowing me to explore some of these attractions that only the desert can offer. As one of the least crowded National Parks around, we are eager to share with you the truly amazing gem that we learned to call home.
How to explore Saguaro National Park:
Near the Tucson city limits the desert begins to change slightly and offers something that is only found in this part of the world. Tucson is home to some of the worlds largest cacti, also known as the the great Saguaro. As a symbol to the american west you may have seen one of these in a classic film or on a tv commercial for desert travel. That’s enough jokes from us for now as we want you to believe us when we say that the Saguaro cactus is undoubtedly one of the most interesting pieces of nature that you can personally see without much planning and trip preparation.
“Although Saguaro National Park is open every day of the year except Christmas day, the busiest time of the year is from November to March. During the winter months, temperatures are cooler and range from the high 50s to the mid-70s. Starting in late February and March, we begin to get a variety of cactus and wildflower blooms. In late April, the iconic Saguaro begins to bloom. Come June, the fruits are beginning to ripen. In August, the lush Sonoran desert starts its Monsoon season, so watch out for those flash floods.” NPS
With Saguaro National Park being split up into an East park and West park it surrounds opposite sides of the metro area and offers a welcomed escape to those who seek its wilderness from either side. “It takes 30-45 minutes to transit between the two districts depending on route and traffic, so it is important you plan accordingly. Don’t worry, you only pay the entrance fee once, and your pass is good at both locations for 7 days from the date of purchase.” The incredible cactus figures that inhabit this part of the desert aren’t the only unexpected attractions that you can look forward to when visiting. With over 165 miles of trails Saguaro National Park shines for every level of hiker that exists. A plethora of day trails splinter both sides of the park to offer drive through guests the chance to appreciate the magnitude of life in the desert.
For the more experienced adventurers this hidden gem provides a vertical gain of 3,000 to 8,000 feet in just about 15 miles. Yes, we know this isn’t what you would expect outside of the Grand Canyon. With five main trailheads offering backcountry access to over 57,930 acres of forest, you can obtain your permits with only 2 months of previous notice. In true western nomad fashion don’t expect the comfort of a car or RV here when looking to spend a night under the stars. If you prefer to ride rather than walk the east side of the park offers a fun riding loop with incredible lookouts and cactus filled vistas.
Aside from the breathtaking views and alien like plants that fill every view, Saguaro National Park is very accessible to every travel seeker at a low cost. You can comfortably travel to the Tucson area and enjoy the Southwestern lifestyle with a quick yet exciting trip to this park. If there is one thing that we promise you will leave with after this trip, it’s a sense of inner peace and tranquility that you wouldn’t have expected.
For more information or to plan your trip visit: Saguaro National Forest