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Saguaro Park Tour
Grand Canyon NP
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Saguaro Park National Park consists of two desert wilderness districts near Tucson, Arizona. One district lies 20 miles east and the other is about 15 miles to the west.
Both districts conserve fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro Cactus. The park is home to two endangered animals, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat and the Mexican Spotted Owl. Each district has its own visitors center
Rincon Mountain District Trek
Backpack camping is allowed within the Rincon Mountain District which is the eastern half of Saguaro National Park at designated sites only. A wilderness permit is required for all overnight stays.
There are several Trailheads for Hiking and Equestrians at the east end of Broadway and Speedway.
While this section of park has fewer Saguaro, they are much larger in size due to the greater rainfall here.
Key Adventure Trek Features:
The Park does not have campground facilities, and overnight parking is not allowed (except for Backpackers). The closest road-access campground is the Douglas Spring Campground which has a 5.9-mile hike to the park.
Tucson Mountain District Trek
Backpack camping is allowed within the Tucson Mountain District which is the eastern half of Saguaro National Park at designated sites only. A wilderness permit is required for all overnight stays.
There are several Trailheads for Hiking and Equestrians.
Closest campground is the Gilbert Ray Campground.
Saguaros are native to southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. They can grow to 200 years old and may not even sprout their first arms until they are 75. Saguaro National Park, which stands on either side of Tucson, was set aside to protect the species, though the cacti grow on other federal and state lands and on private property.
The cacti are protected by federal and state laws that prohibit theft and vandalism — another problem facing the plants, particularly among youths who “tag” the saguaro with spray paint, the same way they would a wall. Others use the cacti for target practice.
Michael Reimer, a special investigator for the Arizona Agriculture Department, said vandalism has become the bigger problem. He said some youths recently mutilated a 25-foot cactus. “The plant’s going to die probably, from what’s been done,” he said.
Boy Scouts can earn special recognition for service performed at any one of our National Parks. Scouts are also encouraged to submit a short narrative to the BSA Good Turn for America website describing their participation and lessons learned. 5 hours service for the certificate, 10 hours for their cool patch.
Saguaro Park National Park
Rincon Mtn Visitors Center - 3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tucson AZ 85730; 520-733-5153;
Tucson Mtn Visitors Center - 2700 North Kinney Road, Tucson AZ 85743; 520-733-5158;
The park gets its name from the saguaro, a large cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear, are abundant in the park. One endangered animal, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat, lives in the park part of the year during its migration, together with one threatened species, the Mexican Spotted Owl.
NOTICE: Removal or damage of any site, artifact, artifact fragment, or rock art can incur penalties under state law of 5 years in prison and a maximum $150,000 fine.
Please note that Southern Arizona is heavily visited in the summer (May-August) which makes getting reservations difficult. The best time to visit is March / April / September / October when there is beautiful weather and less competition for reservations. The nearest lodging is in Tucson.
Stopping Saguaro Thieves
New Cacti features GPS Tracking Chips
Implanted radio chips help park rangers protect precious cactus from Wild West poachers. Arizona's rarest plant is being stolen straight from National Park lands.
A young saguaro with no arms sprouted could sell in Arizona for about $1,000 but can fetch much more when shipped elsewhere. The value increases as a saguaro ages and grows more arms. Saguaro thieves can face serious jail time.
In the late 1980s, federal authorities went so far as to go undercover and set up a nursery to try to learn the identities of those who had been stealing saguaros. That four-year investigation netted 21 indictments.
Popular High Adventure Treks for
Older Scouts / Youth Groups / Families
Spectacular Vacation Outtings - Prepare now for a really fun experience discovering hidden state natural treasures. View exotic terrain, nature & wildlife. Be hands on with a variety of exhilarating outdoor activities. Ideal for Summer Trips and Rugged Weekend Overnighters.
The Arizona Trail is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people. It serves dayhikers, backpackers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, trail runners, nature enthusiasts, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and mule and llama packers.
This trail passes thru the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park near Mica Mountain, the tallest peak in the park.
Gila monsters are one of two venomous lizards in the world. The other is the similar Mexican beaded lizard. Gila monster venom evolved as a defensive rather than offensive weapon.
Six species of rattlesnakes call the Tucson area their home. They are the Western Diamondback, Tiger, Northern Black-tailed, Mojave, Sidewinder and Arizona Black Rattlesnakes.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. - Miss Piggy
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