Cacti or cactus? One is plural and the other is singular. If you want to see a lot of cacti, specifically millions of Saguaros, than a visit to the Saguaro National Park should be on your list of sights to see. you can take a road trip to Tucson to see the largest concentration of the southwest’s iconic Saguaros.
A Day Trip to Saguaro National Park
Arizona is home to three of the 62 national parks in the United States: The Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and Saguaro National Park. If you’re in Arizona you really must take a trip to Tucson to see the Saguaro National Park. No where else in the world can you view a saguaro studded forest.
Saguaro National Park East or West?
The Saguaro National Park is divided into two districts: east and west. The two districts are kitty corner from each other and separated by Interstate 10 in Tucson. Rincon Mountain District is the east entrance and Tucson Mountain District is the west entrance. From entrance to entrance they are about 30 minutes apart.
It is unlike any other national park. There are more than one million of these giant cacti in the park and more than two dozen species of cactus. As symbols of the southwest, the saguaro has protective status.
Tucson Mountain District: West Entrance
The Red Hills Visitor Center at the west entrance has gorgeous views of the park as well as some short trails.
Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive is 8 miles of paved road accessed from the east entrance of Saguaro National Park
Driving Bajada Loop Drive
Bajada Loop Drive is a popular unpaved 6 mile drive.
The Loop begins at Hohokam Road, one and a half miles west of the Red Hills Visitor Center. Leaving the Red Hills Visitor Center, turn right onto Kinney Road. Follow Kinney Road 1.6 miles (2.6 km) to the loop’s entrance on the right. The loop ends where golden Gate Road meets Sandario Road.
The Bajada Loop Road is dirt and most vehicles will be able to easily make the drive. There are several trails to hike from off this road.
Signal Hill Trailhead
At the end of Hohokam Road take a left onto Golden Gate Road and then a right onto Signal Hill Road to reach the Signal Hill Trailhead. This short hike offers commanding views of the Saguaro National Forest as well as an up-close view of petroglyphs.
The Hohokam people created the petroglyphs. They lived in this area between 450 and 1450 A.D.
Have you ever seen a saguaro cactus bloom? If not stop by in May and early June to see a stunning display of these beautiful white flowers. No where else in the world can you view a saguaro studded forest.
The Saguaro bloom is Arizona’s state flower. If you’ve never seen one before they are quite the sight.
- Sonoran Desert Museum ( 1.5 miles from west entrance)
- Sabino Canyon (16.5 miles)
- Mt. Lemmon ( 39 miles)