Saguaro National Park on the east side of Tucson, nestled in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains
Photo by: Eegorr, Creative Commons
Saguaro National Park is one of the many national parks in Arizona, sitting on the edge of Tucson. The park is named after the Giant Saguaro Cactus, perhaps the best known symbol of the Wild West. If you have watched any western film, you must have seen these giants standing tall, silhouetted against the bright hues of sunset. In Saguaro National Park, it’s not at all impossible to have your own Wild West experience.
The Saguaro National Park was first established as Saguaro National Monument in 1933, and later changed into a national park in 1994. The park is divided into two sections: the Rincon Mountain District to the east, and the Tucson Mountain District to the west. At present, the park, with its two districts, covers 91, 440 acres, majority of which is designated as wilderness. Aside from the park’s namesake, the giant saguaro cactus, many other species of cactus reside in the area, such as the barrel cactus, prickly pear, and cholla cactus. Several species of birds that live in the trunks of the saguaro cactus can also be spotted in the park, such as cactus wrens, gila woodpecker, and Mexican spotted owl.
Touring Saguaro National Park
The Saguaro National Park is a popular hiking spot for many tourists, nature lovers, and adventurers. The Rincon Mountain District hiking trail is particularly more accessible to tourists. The key feature of this side is the 8.3-mile loop that two picnic grounds and central trails. The two districts both have visitor centers, where tourists can get hiking maps upon request. The nearest camping ground is Douglas Springs Campground, which can be reached with a 5.9-mile hike. There are no overnight spots for RV in the park, but such space is available 10 miles down the park’s Old Spanish Trail, where the Colossal Cave Mountain Park is located.