The Best of Tucson: Saguaro National Park

Whether you call Tucson home or are just visiting, Saguaro National Park should be at the top of your activity list. The park offers plenty of activities like hiking, camping, cactus gardens, and sunset spots perfect for the passionate photographer, to name a few. 
 
Breathtaking landscapes and picturesque vistas surround Tucson. But these astounding views aren’t just painted backdrops — they are national escapes perfect for exploring and appreciating some of the most unique flora and fauna in the US. 
 
With over 150 miles of hiking trails throughout Saguaro National Park, there is plenty to explore. Five trailheads offer lots of choices, and you can go for a short afternoon hike to an overnight trek through the desert wilderness — just be sure to check out the Saguaro National Park trail map and plan your journey before you head out. 
 
There are six designated campgrounds spread throughout the Saguaro Wilderness Area, and a permit is required for overnight stays. The campsites are not accessible by vehicle, so be prepared to backpack to your site.
 
These extended hikes and overnight stays are a worthwhile journey, however. Each trail is filled with exceptional views, and habitats change quickly from desert landscapes to oak savanna and even pine woodlands. A full list of campsites and their connected trails can be found here
 
Tucson is home to the nation’s most enormous cacti, plenty of which can be found dappling Saguaro National Park’s landscape. The desert environment may seem relatively lifeless, but up close, this resilient ecosystem is teeming with life. Hours after rainfall, plants that seemed brown and dead will spring up with new green growth and stunningly colorful flowers. 
 
Cacti and shrubs aren’t the only flora you’ll find, either. Current research approximates 3,500 species between the Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. 
 
Living among the diverse flora is a colorful cast of desert animals. There are so many unique animals to appreciate, from jackrabbits to toads, large birds, and bobcats. Many spend their days sleeping and become active during the cooler nights. 
 
Some exciting occupants of the Saguaro National Park include roadrunners, horned lizards, Gila monsters, kangaroo rats, and collared peccaries often seen by visitors. Black bears, coati, and white-tailed deer can also be found, though they usually keep their distance from hikers. 
 
Whether you’re visiting once on vacation or are a repeat visitor, Saguaro National Park is one of the most picturesque and magical spaces Southern Arizona has to offer. For Tucsonans, that magic is right in their backyard. 
 
Learn more about living in Tucson and finding your dream property by contacting Rick Sack today!