Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, Arizona 85730
Rincon Mountain District Visitor Center
Tucson Mountain District Visitor Center
WELCOME to Saguaro National
Enormous cacti, silhouetted by the setting
sun, for most of us the Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the
American West. And yet, these majestic plants are only found in a
small portion of the United States. Saguaro National Park protects
some of the most impressive forests of these sub-tropical giants, on
the edge of the modern City of Tucson.
Protecting America's Treasures
Saguaro National Park's geographic location
and range of plant communities allow for a large variety in the
plants that grow here. Find out which plants call Saguaro National
Park home and find answers to all of your questions about the
The Saguaro Wilderness Area
The Saguaro Wilderness Area was officially
designated as wilderness in 1976. This large, roadless backcountry
consists of 57,930 acres within the Rincon Mountain District of
Saguaro National Park. It is bounded on three sides by the 38,590
acre Rincon Mountain Wilderness Area, which lies within the Coronado
Saguaro National Park's two districts offer
more than 165 miles of hiking trails. A hike at Saguaro National
Park can be a stroll on a short interpretive nature trail or a
day-long wilderness trek. Both districts of Saguaro National Park
offer a variety of hiking trails. Learn how to be prepared for
hiking or backpacking at Saguaro National Park.
Saguaro National Park has two districts,
separated by the City of Tucson. The Tucson Mountain District or
Saguaro West, and the Rincon Mountain District or Saguaro East, are
approximately 30 miles and 1 hour driving time apart. While similar
in terms of plants and animals, subtle differences make both areas
worthy of a visit.
Tucson Mountain District
- A short hike on the Valley View Overlook
Trail to view the Avra Valley and distant mountain ranges.
- A fabulous orientation program offering a
Native American perspective on the saguaro cactus. Shown daily
at the Red Hills Visitor Center.
- A trip to Signal Hill Picnic Area, which
offers visitors the chance to view hundreds of ancient
Rincon Mountain District
- A scenic auto/bike tour around the Cactus
Forest Loop Drive offering incredible views of the Rincon
- A one mile loop hike along the Freeman
Homestead Trail to learn about homesteading in the desert as
well as modern Tucson.
- For those with a taste for adventure, as
well as a couple of extra days, we recommend a trip into the
Saguaro Wilderness Area to visit Manning Cabin, which was built
in 1905 by Levi Manning, one time mayor of Tucson.
Saguaro National Park is composed of two
distinct districts: The Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson
Mountain District. The Tucson Mountain District lies on the west
side of Tucson, Arizona, while the Rincon Mountain District lies on
the east side of Tucson. Both districts were formed to protect and
exhibit forests of their namesake plant: the Saguaro Cactus.
Most people think of Saguaro National Park as
being a desert park. True, the lower elevations of the park
encompass Sonoran Desert Vegetation, but there is much more to
Saguaro National Park than just cacti.
The Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro
National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,180 ft to 4,687 ft and
contains 2 biotic communities, desert scrub, and desert grassland.
Average annual precipitation is approximately 10.27 in. Common
wildlife include the coyote, Gamble's quail, and desert tortoise.
The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro
National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,670 ft to 8,666 ft and
contains 6 biotic communities. The biotic communities (starting from
the lowest elevation) include desert scrub, desert grassland, oak
woodland, pine-oak woodland, pine forest and mixed conifer forest.
Average annual precipitation is approximately 12.30 in.
The Rincon Mountains peak at a considerably
higher elevation than the Tucson Mountains, therefore there are more
biotic communities and increased plant and wildlife diversity.
Because of the higher elevation in the Rincons, animals like the
black bear, Mexican spotted owl, Arizona mountain king snake, and
white-tailed deer live in this district.