Saguaro National Park is home to the universal symbol of the West, the largest Cacti, the giant Saguaro. The cacti and the magnificent beauty of the desert that silhouettes the cacti is what Saguaro National Park is all about.
The Park is located in Tucson, Arizona. The park is mainly divided into two sections, either of which is on the different sides of Tucson city. The park has museums, caves, and trails which make up for a rich experience.
Here are some of the locations at the park that are a must-visit.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a concatenation of a zoo, a botanical garden, and a rich natural history museum. The museum has a range of activities including Avian Adventures in which you’ll have a bird fly directly to a special glove donned for a special photo op. The Raptor Free Flight is also a popular program at the museum which features Harris's Hawk shows for the audience.
In the museum, the spectacular exhibits, the Earth Science Center, and the Mineral Collection Tour is something that is perfect for learning kids.
If you’re at the park, you might think of dedicating a whole day to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to wholly immerse in the experiences that it offers.
International Wildlife Museum
The International Wildlife Museum is something that will leave you awestruck. Featuring more than 400 species of birds, mammals, and insects, this museum gives you an immersive experience in the world of the wild.
There is also an underwater section that is focused on coral reef conservation. It has a saltwater aquarium with tropical fish and live corals.
The Rincon Mountains are one of the most beautiful sights in the park. You can do campfires in this area, although permits are required for overnight stays. On these cool, forested slopes, you can absorb the peace and tranquillity of solitude.
There are several campsites in this area including the Douglas Spring, Juniper Basin, Happy Valley Saddle, and the Grass Shack. Some of the campsites like the Grass Shack are near a stream in a lush oak, madrone, and sycamore forest which is perfect for that tranquil night stay you want.
A mountain pass along the Tuscan Mountain crest is what is called the Gates Pass. It is a scenic route that is popular especially at sunset. While the twilight pulls away from the spectacular views, it is almost a growing sense of serenity that engulfs you.
Midway through the route, there is a rather steep slope that should be looked out for. This pass is traveled by car and the stop can be made anywhere where you feel is the best view for watching the sunset.
Tucson Mountain Park
The Tucson Mountain Park is perfect for hiking, bag packing, horse-riding, and biking. It has 62 miles of trails which are perfect for sports and hiking enthusiasts.
There are many trails in this park which include the Brown Mountain Trail, the Hidden Canyon Bowen Loop Trail, and the Yetman and 5th Avenue Trail.
Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead
The Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead is a starting point for 8 different trails all of which go through the terrain of Saguaro cacti and desert.
The trails are a mix of moderate and easy trails and you should pick the one that is best suited to you according to your experience, the people who accompany you, and the experience that you are looking for.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
The Colossal Cave Mountain Park has 3.5 miles of mapped cave passageways. If you are looking for an adventure through the caves, you would not want to miss this park.
The Cave Park has a La Posta Quemada Ranch Museum in which the exhibits focus on the natural history of the park as well as human history. There is also a Civilian Conservation Corps Museum which maps out the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps activities in the region.
The horseback trail rides in the park are perfect if you are not looking for a hiking adventure, but horseback riding across the scenic views. The park also has picnic and camping facilities and a butterfly garden which also offers picturesque locations.
Valley View Overlook Trail
Beautiful wildflowers and a valley view after a short hike are just for those who have limited time in the park. The trail also features interpretive signs about the different plants in the area which is a great way to absorb the scenery and the plantation on the trail route.
The cacti are the highlight of the trail which offers great views for the visitors.
Tanque Verde Falls
Tanque Verde Falls is a pretty popular hike amongst visitors. The highlight of the trail is the billowing waterfall after the 1.8-mile trail. A steady climb in elevation marks this trail as moderate.
You can also swim and splash at the end of the trail, although you might be careful of the slippery rocks. It can also be dangerous after and during storms, so you might want to check on the weather before planning to go for this hike.
Bridal Wreath Falls Trail
The Bridal Wreath Falls Trail is a beautiful hike and at the end, water might await you at the falls which is a perfect way to end the exhausting journey because it is moderately strenuous. For the avid hiker, this might not be a very challenging trail, although the views are just lovely.
The Saguaro National Park and its surrounding areas offer a rich experience to the visitors. There are a lot of museums in the area, trails, as well as spectacular and breathtaking views. If you are planning a summer trip, consider Saguaro National Park as one of the topmost choices on your list because of the variety of experiences that it offers.