Hiking Trails in Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District: Camino Loma Alta Trailhead
- Hope Camp Trail to North Hope Trail - 6.2 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Hope Camp Trail to Ridgeview Trail - 1.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District: Douglas Spring Trailhead
- Bridal Wreath Falls - 5.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Douglas Spring Trail to Douglas Spring Campground - 12.1 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Garwood Loop - 5.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District: Tanque Verde Ridge Trailhead
- Tanque Verde Peak - 18.0 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Tanque Verde Ridge to Juniper Basin Campground - 13.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Desert Discovery Trailhead
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Hugh Norris Trailhead
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: King Canyon Trailhead
- Gould Mine Loop - 2.5 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Wasson Peak via The Gould Mine, Sendero Esperanza and Hugh Norris Trails - 8.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Ringtail Trailhead
- Ironwood Forest Loop - 3.6 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Ironwood Forest Trail to Picture Rocks Wash - 5.5 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Ringtail Trail to Brittlebush Wash - 5.5 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Sendero Esperanza Trailhead
- Sendero Esperanza Trail to the Gould Mine Loop - 8.1 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Wasson Peak via The Sendero Esperanza and Hugh Norris Trails - 7.9 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Signal Hill Trailhead
- Cactus Wren Trail - Manville Trail Loop - 4.5 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
- Signal Hill Trail - 0.4 miles roundtrip - No Dogs Allowed
Saguaro West - Tucson Mountain District: Valley View Overlook Trailhead
Saguaro National Park - Photos
- Rincon Mountain District: Hope Camp Trail
- Rincon Mountain District: Juniper Basin and Tanque Verde Peak
- Rincon Mountain District: The Cactus Forest and Douglas Spring Trail
- Tucson Mountain Disctrict: Signal Hill + Cactus Wren Loop
- Tucson Mountain District: Bajadas and Foothills Trails
- Tucson Mountain District: Gould Mine Loop
- Tucson Mountain District: Wasson Peak
- Tucson Mountain District: Wild Dog Trail
Saguaro National Park - Wildlife
Although the Sonoran Desert can seem foreboding, it is home to many animal species. These animals have adapted to the desert’s high temperatures and scarce water supply. Many species simply avoid the hot daytime temperatures by being active only at night or by seeking shelter in shaded nests or burrows. Others have features that allow them to stay cool - the jackrabbit’s large ears allow heat to radiate away from its body, and vultures actually urinate on themselves to dissipate heat!
Saguaro National Park contains a great variety of unusual animals, some of which can only be found in southern Arizona. Roadrunners, horned lizards, Gila monsters, kangaroo rats, and collared peccaries are all seen regularly by visitors. Although Saguaro NP lies on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, Mica Mountain in the Rincon Mountain District reaches more then 8600’ in height. This altitude allows for cooler temperatures and pine trees, as well as mammals such as black bears and white-tailed deer. The park is also home to species more commonly associated with the tropics, such as coati. Precious, often hidden desert waters contain aquatic leopard frogs and mud turtles.
MAMMALS OF SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK
Mammalian species are found throughout Saguaro National Park. Mammals are characterized by their fur and the ability to nurse their young with milk from modified sweat glands called mammary glands. Mammals are warm-blooded, or endothermic. Bats, the only flying mammal, are numerous throughout the park, as are bobcats and javelina.
Bobcats of Saguaro
Bobcats, also known as wildcats, are much smaller than mountain lions and easily distinguished by their short tails. These cats do well around the park borders of urban Tucson where food like rabbits and quail are extremely abundant. Despite their relatively small size, reports have cited bobcats preying on animals as large as adult deer.
Total length: 28-49 inches (71-125 cm)
Weight: 15-29 pounds (7-13 kg)
Diet: Small rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds and carrion
Javelina or Collared Peccary of Saguaro
Javelina, or collared peccaries, have a limited distribution in the U.S. but are common at Saguaro National Park. They live in groups of 4 - 20 individuals led by an aged, experienced female. Javelina have scent glands on their lower backs. Within a herd, javelina often rub against one another, giving each herd a distinctive smell (at least to other javelina). Though similar in appearance, they are not pigs and differ from pigs in both behavior and physiology.
Total length: 35-40 in. (87- 102 cm)
Weight: 40- 65 pounds(18-30 kg)
Diet: Roots, tubers, seeds, mesquite beans, cactus fruit, agave, prickly pear pads, occasional carrion
Mountain Lions of Saguaro
The elusive mountain lion is the most powerful predator at Saguaro National Park. It is found in both districts. They have the ability to kill prey larger than themselves and can leap 20 feet (6.1 m) or more! Their jaws are so strong that they can bite through the shells of adult desert tortoises, something no other predator in the Sonoran Desert can do.
Total length: Up to 6 feet (1.5 m)
Weight: 75- 145 pounds (34 to 66 kg)
Diet: Mule deer, white-tailed deer, javelina, jackrabbits, squirrels
Saguaro National Park - Ecology
Saguaro National Park is located within a desert, but contrary to what you might expect, there is an abundance of life. Plants here are adapted to drought, so during long dry periods they are able to go dormant, conserving their water. At these times, many plants appear lifeless, but shortly after a rainfall these plants are able to come to life sprouting new green leaves. If you like green, you will especially enjoy Saguaro National Park during the rainy seasons. Within just 48 hours after a rainfall, the ocotillo plant is able to change from what appeared to be a handful of dead sticks into a cheerful shrub with tall green branches, covered in new leaves.
Growing at Saguaro National Park, Rincon Mountain District are more than 1,162 species of plants ranging from desert vegetation such as cacti, ocotillo, and creosote in the lower elevations all the way to ponderosa pine, oak, and Douglas-fir in the upper elevations of the Rincon Mountains. The Tucson Mountain District is home to 512 species of plants.
The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park includes terrain from under 2,500 feet elevation to 8,666 feet elevation. The varied elevation within the park’s boundaries allows for a great variety of different species, found in 6 different plant communities. Saguaro National Park is thought to be home to ten species of Threatened, Endangered, or Sensitive plants. Seventy-eight non-native species of plants have made homes in the Rincon Mountain District in recent years, while 47 non-natives have established themselves in the Tucson Mountain District. The Exotic Plant program, with help from volunteers, maps and removes non-native species from both districts of the park.
CACTI - DESERT SUCCULENTS
Saguaro National Park is home to 25 species of cactus ranging from the towering saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) to the tiniest type of cactus in the park, the mammillaria (Mammillaria spp).
The most common cactus species at Saguaro National Park and within Tucson, Arizona include:
-saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)
-fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii)
-staghorn cholla cactus (Opuntia versicolor)
-pinkflower hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var. fasciculatus)
-Engelman’s prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii)
-teddybear cholla cactus (Opuntia bigelovii)
-chainfruit (jumping) cholla cactus (Opuntia fulgida)
Saguaro National Park - Contact
Park Headquarters and Rincon Mountain District
Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730-5601
- or -
Saguaro National Park-Tucson Mountain District
2700 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743
Visitor Information - Rincon Mountain District: (520) 733-5153
Visitor Information - Tucson Mountain District: (520) 733-5158
Headquarters: (520) 733-5100
By Fax: 520-733-5183
Operating Hours & Seasons
Both districts of the park are open from 7:00 a.m. to sunset daily. Both districts of the park offer a visitor center with operating hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except closed on Christmas Day.
Tucson is known for its mild winters and hot summers. Tucson has two rainy seasons, the summer rainy season, which generally runs from July through August and the winter rainy season, which generally runs from December through January. Because of our temperate winter climate, the heaviest visitation generally comes between November and April.
Saguaro National Park - Directions
Traveling By Car
Getting to the Rincon Mountain District from the City of Tucson
Travel east on Broadway or Speedway Boulevard to Freeman Road (turn right on Freeman Road). Drive south on Freeman Road (4 miles [6.5 kilometers] from Speedway, 3 miles [5 kilometers] from Broadway) to Old Spanish Trail. Turn left on Old Spanish Trail. Drive .25 miles (.4 kilometers) southeast on Old Spanish Trail to the Park entrance on the left side of the road.
Getting to the Rincon Mountain District from Interstate 10
Primary Route from I-10
Exit I-10 at exit # 275 (Houghton Road) and drive 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) north to Old Spanish Trail and turn right. Drive 3 miles (5 kilometers) southeast on Old Spanish Trail and the park entrance, which will be on the left side of the road.
Alternate route from I-10
For a more scenic alternate route, take exit #279 (Colossal Cave Road) and go north for 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) to Pistol Hill Road and turn left. Drive 2 miles (3 kilometers) northeast on Pistol Hill Road to Old Spanish Trail and turn left. Proceed north on Old Spanish Trail 11 miles (17.5 kilometers) to the park entrance, which will be on your right.
Getting to the Tucson Mountain District from the City of Tucson
Travel west on Speedway Boulevard. At the junction of Camino de Oeste, Speedway Boulevard will change names to Gates Pass Road. From this junction, drive 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) west on Gates Pass Road until it ends at Kinney Road (turn right on Kinney Road). Drive 3 miles (5 kilometers) north on Kinney Road to the Park entrance (entrance will be on the right side of the road). This route is not suitable for vehicles over 25 feet in length.
Getting to the Tucson Mountain District from Interstate 10
Primary Route from I-10
If you are traveling eastbound, there is one direction sign at Exit # 242, which is called the Avra Valley Road. Drive 5 miles (8 kilometers) west on Avra Valley Road to Sandario Road (turn left on Sandario Road). Drive 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) south on Sandario Road to Kinney Road (turn left on Kinney Road). The visitor center is 2 miles (3 kilometers) down Kinney Road on the left side of the road.
Alternate Route from I-10
Take exit #248, which is called Ina Road and drive west 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) to Wade Road and turn left. Drive .6 miles (1 kilometer) to a big curve. At this point, Wade Road will change names to Picture Rocks Road. Drive 6 miles (10 kilometers) west on Picture Rocks Road to Sandario Road and turn left. While on Picture Rocks Road you will enter and exit Saguaro National Park. Drive 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) south on Sandario Road to Kinney Road and turn left. Drive 2 miles (3 kilometers) down Kinney Road to the visitor center, which will be on your left.
Getting to the Tucson Mountain District from Interstate 19
Interstate 19 is a rather short route beginning in Tucson at Interstate 10 and going south to the border of Mexico at Nogales, Arizona. Take I-19 south to Ajo Way (exit 99) then go west on Ajo Way (also known as Highway 86) to Kinney Road and turn right and head north, follow the signs to the park.