Saguaro National Park
|Saguaro National Park (National Park Service)|
Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730-5601
Saguaro National Monument is divided into two districtsSaguaro West, to the west of Tucson, and Saguaro East, to the east. Each has places to obtain park information, scenic drives, trails, and picnic areas. Neither have lodges nor campgrounds. There are no gas stations, restaurants or drive-in campgrounds available at either district.
Saguaro West, also known as the Tucson Mountain District, embraces a wide variety of Sonoran Desert life against the backdrop of the rugged Tucson Mountains. It is open 24 hours a day.
Getting There: The west district can be accessed from Interstate 10 at the Speedway Boulevard exit (#248) except for vehicles with trailers or oversized vehicles such as RVs or large trucks. Travel west on Speedway Blvd. (the name will change to Gates Pass Road) to Kinney Rd., north on Kinney to the park entrance. The recommended route for oversized vehicles is from I-19, get off at the Ajo Way ext (#99), go west to Kinney Rd., then north to the park entrance.
Both units are approximately 15 miles from downtown Tucson. Directional signs to both units of the park can be seen along Interstate 10.
Visitor Center: The Red Hills Information Center has brochures, books, maps, trail and drive guides, exhibits, and rangers who can discuss plans and interests with you. Schedules of park activities, which include guided hikes, nature walks, and talks, are posted. Most activities are conducted from December through April. The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Christmas Day. There is no entrance fee.
Camping and Lodging: The closest campground to the Tucson Mountain District is Gilbert Ray Campground. Phone 520-740-2690 for more information. Lodging, food, and automotive services may be obtained nearby in Tucson. For information on lodging and tourist attractions contact the Tucson Visitors Bureau: 130 S. Scott Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701; 520-624-1817, or the Tucson Chamber of Commerce: 465 W. St. Mary's Road, Tucson, AZ 85701; 520-792-1212.
Picnic Areas: Four picnic areas are located along park roads. A fifth, in the backcountry, can be reached only by trail. All trash must be packed out of this site. Each area has tables, grills, shade ramadas, and pit toilets.
Saguaro East, also called Rincon Mountain District, encompasses an aging saguaro forest at the foot of the majestic Rincon Mountains, as well as an exceptional variety of other desert communities. The park is open daily.
Getting There: The east district can be accessed from Interstate 10 at Houghton Road (exit #275). Go north on Houghton to Escalante Road, east on Escalante to Old Spanish Trail, north to the park entrance. From the city of Tucson, east on 22nd St. to Old Spanish Trail, then south to the park entrance. From Speedway or Broadway Boulevards, east to Freeman Road, south on Freeman to Old Spanish Trail, south on Old Spanish Trail to the park entrance.
Visitor Center: At the visitor center, you will find books, brochures, maps, trail and drive guides, exhibits, and a slide program about the saguaro and Sonoran Desert. Rangers are available if you have questions about what to see and do. Schedules of ranger-guided walks and other park activities that are offered in winter are posted. The center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Christmas Day.
Camping and Lodging: Primitive camping is available in the backcountry of the Rincon Mountain District by permit only. There are many public campgrounds available nearby. The closest campground to the Rincon Mountain District can be found on the Coronado National Forest. Phone 520-749-8700 for more information.
Picnic Areas: There are two picnic areas in Saguaro East, both located along the Cactus Forest Drive. Each has picnic tables, fire grills, and pit toilets. They do not have drinking water.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication