Saguaro National Park

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Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ, USA

Saguaro National Park Tucson Reviews

camwilde camwilde
163 reviews
Saguaro National Park Feb 15, 2013
We visited Saguaro National Park and really loved what we saw. This park surrounds Tucson on the East and West but we only had time for the East.

We stopped at the Visitor's Center and asked for a Junior Ranger book. At first, they didn't think my daughter was old enough but after I told her she has at least 15 Junior Ranger badges already, they let her do it. The program is great. They lend out a backpack with binoculars, field guides, and tons of information. Sonya loved the official nature of it.

We then went around Cactus Loop and stopped at various locations. The Desert Ecology Trail allowed us to study the desert and my 5 year old learned a ton. There were also tons of Cactus.

When we returned to the Visitor's Center, the ranger gave my daughter a good review of the material (which she passed with flying colors). She was so proud!

For someone from the Northwest, it was great to dig into desert life and learn about the Southwest.
Saguaro National Park sign
My kids and me in front of a Sagua…
My daughter ready to get her Junio…
My wife in front posing in front o…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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kingoftheicedragons kingofth…
83 reviews
It's Full of Cacti May 08, 2011
Granted, I have been to very few national parks, but this is my favorite. In my opinion, a lot of national parks are the same--if you've seen one,you've seen them all. Don't get me wrong, they are all great, and usually there is one thing in that park that you can't see elsewhere--such as the Grand Canyon or Old Faithful.

Here at the Saguaro National Park, the main attraction (at least for me) were the saguaro cactus. Yes, you can see cactus, and even saguaro cactus all over the region, you don't need to go Saguaro National Park to see them, but they are much more concentrated here. And to me, when all of the other parks I've been to have been forest, it was a refreshing change to be in a park, and instead of seeing trees everywhere, it's cactus instead.
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Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
150 year old giant Saguaro Cacti in the wilderness Mar 26, 2010
It was 11:00 am on Saturday morning, Desire and I had nothing planned for the day so we decided to go hiking. We needed new hiking grounds besides Sabino Caynon and Mount Lemmon both of which we are exhausting. Saguaro National Park was our choice for the day, off we went. It was a beautiful day with temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. From where we live the park is less than 25 minutes drive. Being a Saturday, the park was busy with bikers, hikers, visitors from within and out of state. The Saguaro National Park protects the forest that is home to giant plants, particularly the ones known as the Saguaro. The saguaro cacti are found all over the state of Arizona, they are a symbol of the American west and Arizona is one of the southwestern states that has a great many of these cacti with the largest concentration right here at the Saguaro Park, hence the name. The saguaro cactus is renowned for it's size and the odd shapes it takes as it grows. Did you know that they have a lifespan of 150 - 200 years? I have visited this park only twice even though I have lived over six years in Arizona.

There is an information center as you go up the drive way off of Old Spanish Trail road. Inside the information center you will find all necessary information about the park and souvenirs to take with. We stepped in briefly to get some additional information, looked at a few ranger hats for purchase, I think the smaller size was $11.50 each. We looked at the display of the entire forest in the next room, it showed the entire park and part of Rincon Mountain which overlooks the park. The entire forest area was officially designated as wilderness in 1976. It is a large back country with no roads through it except for a short loop (the cactus Forrest Loop) that gives visitors great overlooks of the entire wilderness. The entire area is comprised of 57,930 acres within the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. It is also surrounded on three sides by Rincon mountain ranges which are part of the Coronado National Forest.

We paid $10.00 park entry fees for a one week pass, along with the pass we got a detailed map of the entire Saugaro wilderness and all hiking trails. A one year unlimited pass costs $25.00 which is a really good bargain if you are an avid hiker like I'm. The lady at the ticket booth told me I could turn in my ticket within a week and pay the difference of $15.00 to get a one year pass, which I'm considering doing. The fees are per vehicle.

From the information map and flyer we were given, Desire and I learned quite a bit about the growth process of the saguaro cacti and their lifespan. Apparently they do need nurse trees in their early years to protect them otherwise the chance of survival are slim. The nurse trees we saw in the park included the mesquite and the palo verde.

Additional history in the wilderness is the Manning cabin built by one of Tucson's mayors name Levi Manning, he built the cabin in 1905. Desire and I did not go to the cabin, but we plan on taking the adventure soon enough. We did however go on two hikes on two separate trails totaling five hours in the Saguaro National Park. The weather could not have been any perfect.

They do offer junior ranger programs for children too.

Information on visiting the park:

*Hours: 7:00 am to sunset daily

*Seasons: all year round

*Fees: $10.00 for privately owned vehicle valid for 7 days, $5.00 Individuals or bicycles. Commercial vehicles pay a higher fee ranging from $25 for a 6 passenger vehicle, $40 for vehicles with 25 person seating capacity and $100 for a motor coach with a capacity of 26 passengers or more.
Entrance to the park
At the information center
Past the entrance gate to the park
A view of the Rincon Mountains tha…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Africancrab says:
Ha-ha, now that would be something indeed, an honor that would be. Thanks.
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
jethanad says:
Yes, you must go for the annual pass,

You never know how many TB frends turn up for your guidance and company !
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
Africancrab says:
Thank you
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
Hiking Desert Ecology Trail Mar 13, 2010
The Desert Ecology Trail is the simplest and easiest trail within the Rincon Mountain District in the East. Desire and I hiked the rather short and well marked trail (quarter of a mile) with no elevation gain.

This trail is more like an introduction trail which offers an introduction to the climate of the Sonoran Desert and the adaptations which give the animals and plants the means to survive and thrive here. The hike was pretty pleasant with about 8 people including Desire and I on the entire trail.

The trail has well marked interpretive signs with information on what goes on within the wilderness of Saguaro park including storms, life balance, water in the desert and variety of plant life.

The benches along the path are such a welcome treat, allowing even the elderly to walk and take frequent breaks, there is a paved wheelchair access too. i particularly loved the information signs.
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X_Drive X_Drive
836 reviews
A short and to the point review Apr 12, 2008
We made a short visit to the Rincon or eastern half of the National Park. There is also a western division on the western side of Tucson. This side is made up of several trails and a loop drive you can take through the most heavily populated areas of the Saguaro Cactus. Many people were seen bicycling along the roadway but there are only a very few campsites here and they are only considered backcountry sites and are not approachable by vehicles.

These tall splendid Saguaro Cactus plants are only found here in this area of Arizona, and no other place in the world.
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