A hike in Saguaro National Park can be a stroll on a day trail or a long wilderness trek. Within a mile of the visitor center in Saguaro West, there are two nature trails, the Cactus Garden Trail and the Desert Discovery Nature Trail. There are approximately 128 miles of trails that wind through the desert and mountain country of Saguaro East.
Hiking and other strenuous activities in extreme heat can be hazardous. Pace yourself and rest often.
There is no water available at the picnic areas or along most trails.
Drinking water is essential. Each person should carry at least one gallon of water per day.
Persons planning to hike or ride a horse on the longer park trails should carry a topographic map.
Beware of painful encounters with cacti and other prickly plants.
Be especially careful near cholla cactus spines that, with just the slightest touch, can become embedded in your skin. If a cactus joint attaches itself, use two sticks, a pocket comb, or other object as a lever to flip it away.
To avoid encountering poisonous rattlesnakes, scorpions, or Gila monsters, carry a flashlight at night and avoid putting your feet or hands under rocks or in hidden places.
During a thunderstorm, both lightning and flash floods pose a threat.
Driving off road is prohibited, wear your seatbelt and obey the speed limit.
|Cactus Garden||Red Hills Visitor Center (west)||Follows a level paved walkway through a collection of desert plants, easy|
|Desert Ecology (east)||0.25||Near the Mica View picnic area||Paved wheelchair accessible. Interpretive signs explain how plants and animals use limited water resources of the Sonora Desert, easy|
|Desert Discovery Nature||0.5 loop||Within a mile of the Red Hills Visitor Center (west)||Follows along the gently sloping bajadas at the foot of the Tucson Mountains|
|Freeman Homestead Nature||1.0 loop||Near the Javelina picnic area (east)||Interpretive signs discuss early and modern Tucson as well as homesteading in the desert during the late 1800's and early 1900's|
|Valley View Overlook||1.5 loop||On the Hohokam Road||Spectacular views of mountains and desert scenery and extensive saguaro forests|
All distances are in miles.
Longer trails penetrate the wild country of the Tucson Mountains and foothills. Because these trails intersect one another, you can make you hike as long or short as desired.
Horseback riding is permitted on most trails, check at the Red Hills Visitor Center for trail information. Hikers and riders should stay on trails; abandoned mine shafts make off-trail exploration hazardous.
Other trails in the West Saguaro National Park are:
Hugh Norris Trail
King Canyon Trail
Sendero Esperanza Trail
Horseback riding is permitted on all trails except the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail, Miller Creek Trail, and Rincon Peak Trail. Before hiking or horseback riding into the Rincon Mountains, check with a park ranger on trail conditions.
Few people experience the trails that penetrate the vast wilderness of the Rincon Mountains and their foothills. They are only accessible by foot or on horseback. It is unlike the lowland cactus desert. There are woodlands of scrub oak and pine and forests of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir similar to those of the northern United States and southern California.
Cactus Forest Trail
Cow Head Saddle Trail
Deer Valley Trail
Douglas Spring Trail
Heatbreak Ridge Trail
Italian Spring Trail
Loma Verde Trail
Manning Camp Trail
Miller Creek Trail
North Slope Trail
Palo Verde Trail
Pink Hill Trail
Rincon Creek Trail
Squeeze Pen Trail
Tanque Verde Ridge Trail
Turkey Creek Trail
There are two picnic areas in Saguaro East and five in Saguaro West.
|Picnic Area||Location||Table||Fire Grill||Pit Toilet||Water|
|Cam-Boh (West)||Along Picture Rock Rd||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ez-Kim-In-Zin (West)||Along Golden Gate Rd||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Javelina (East)||Along Cactus Forest Dr||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Mam-A-Gah (West)||Hike in along King Canyon Trail||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Mica View (East)||Along Cactus Forest Drive||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Signal Hill (West)||Along Hohokam Road||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Sus (West)||Along Hohokam Road||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Leave all plants, animals, rocks, wood and other natural features undisturbed.
Off-trail hiking is prohibited in the Cactus Forest Trail System.
Firearms and other weapons are prohibited.
Pets are allowed on paved roads only and must be leashed.
Camping and fires are permitted in designated areas only.
Trash must be packed out or placed in litter containers.
Horses are prohibited from traveling off trail throughout the park.
Horseback riders must access the Douglas Spring Trail via the Wildhorse Trailhead. It is located on Speedway Boulevard, .12 mile west of Douglas Spring Trailhead.
Bicycles are permitted on the 8.0 mile paved loop and on the section of the Cactus Forest Trail located inside the loop drive.
A popular way to view native plants and animals while surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Sonora Desert is to take a bike ride around the Cactus Forest Loop Drive.
Cactus Forest Loop Drive
Paved, and open to motor vehicles and joggers as well as bikes. The drive is narrow with tight turns and steep hills. Always ride single file and alert other users when passing by saying, "passing on your left."
Cactus Forest Trail
Located inside the loop drive, open to equestrian and foot traffic as well. Bicyclists are required to yield to all other trail users. When encountering riders or hikers, stop your bike and move off to the side of the trail while they pass. This is especially important when encountering horses.
Restrooms are available at the visitor center during daylight hours, pit toilets are available in both picnic areas.
A shade ramada with benches, water fountain and bicycle rack are adjacent to the visitor center.
Bicycles are not permitted in the cactus garden or on the patio in front of the visitor center.
Carry and drink plenty of water, especially in the summer. There is no water available on the loop drive.
Carry personal identification while biking, including the name, address and phone number of an emergency contact.
Bicycle helmets are required for all riders 14 years and younger. Helmets and other safety gear are strongly recommended for all riders.
Bicycle riding after dark requires a headlight and rear reflectors.
Bicycle access to the park from Tucson is available along the Old Spanish Trail bike path.
If you see an accident or are in one, report it to the park ranger as soon as possible. If the visitor center is closed, call 911.
Activities & Calendar
Address & Phone
Annuals Blooming Season
Birds in Saguaro
Brochures, Maps, Written Info
Cacti Blooming Season
Educational Field Trips
Flower Blooming Guide
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Junior Ranger Programs
Self Guided Field Trips
Size & Visitation
Tree Blooming Season
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