You can explore Saguaro National Park in so many ways from scenic drives to hiking, and watching the sunset. Here are some of our favorite things to do in the park:
1. Scenic Drives
Tour the Bajada Loop Drive in Saguaro National Park West for a great overview of the park and sweeping mountain, and valley views. Everywhere you look, you’ll see hillsides studded with majestic saguaro cacti. Stop at a picnic area or trailhead to get out and explore on foot. In Saguaro National Park East, the paved eight-mile Cactus Forest Loop offers amazing views of the nearby Rincon and Santa Catalina Mountain Ranges and the entire valley as well.
2. Go Hiking
The park offers more than 165 miles of trails ranging from easy nature trail hikes for beginners or families to full day-long wilderness treks and overnight adventures. On the western side of the park, the Valley View Overlook Trail is a popular choice offering a short hike with a stunning scenic view. Visit the Saguaro National Park hiking page to view trail maps and learn more.
In the Tucson Mountain District (West) Signal Hill Petroglyphs Trail is a must see. It’s an easy half-mile hike up a gentle hill and this trail rewards hikers with dozens of ancient petroglyphs. Another popular choice is the Valley View Trail, which offers gorgeous views of Avra Valley and Picacho Peak to the north.
Mica View Loop in Saguaro National Park East is a two-mile round trip hike featuring views of Tanque Verde peak and Mica Mountain. For a curated selection of top trails to explore, visit the Friends of Saguaro National Park website.
3. Mountain Biking
Many visitors enjoy biking the park’s scenic loops. The Bajada Loop Drive in the West side of the park is a six-mile gravel path, perfect for mountain bikes. On the East side of the park, visitors can tour the paved eight-mile Cactus Forest Loop Drive on a mountain bike or a road bike. For more information on biking through the park, please visit the Saguaro National Park biking page.
4. Camping Trip
Backcountry camping is available to backpackers only (no vehicles or RV camping is permitted). There are six campgrounds throughout the park and a permit is required for all camping stays.
5. See the Wildlife
Many different species of birds, amphibians, and mammals call Saguaro National Park home. Look for roadrunners, horned lizards, kangaroo rats, and the cactus wren. On the eastern side of the park, at higher elevations visitors may encounter black bears and white-tailed deer as well. To learn more about all the amazing wildlife you may experience throughout the park, visit the Saguaro National Park page on wildlife.
6. View Ancient Petroglyphs
The astounding petroglyphs in Saguaro National Park West date back hundreds of years to the ancient Hohokam people. You can view a solar spiral petroglyph, and many others in Saguaro National Park West by following the Signal Hill Trail. It is a gentle climb to get up to the hill where you will find dozens of ancient markings.
7. Watch the Sunset
With the sun setting behind the Tucson Mountains, you really can’t go wrong as far as watching a sunset in Saguaro National Park. Visit picnic areas in any part of the park (East or West) and you’ll see just how stunning the 360-degree views of a Sonoran Desert sunset can be.
Check out our Guide to Saguaro National Park to answer all of your questions before you arrive.