2 - 3 Hours
One Per Car
7.5+ Miles Per Entrance
17 + Per Entrance
At Your Own Pace
Welcome to the Saguaro National Park Tour
Explore scenic Saguaro National Park (East and West) with this driving tour, full of wild history, mountains, rich wildlife…. and of course plenty of iconic Saguaro cacti! Hear stories of greed and drama involving settlers, miners, and gangs as you cruise through forests of cacti and yucca! Discover breathtaking trails, learn about the ancient Hohokam people, and much more!
About the Tour (East Entrance)
Welcome to the Saguaro East National Park Tour! Get ready to explore the beauty and wonders of the desert landscape in this self-guided driving adventure.
Start your journey at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center. Follow Cactus Forest Drive to uncover the stories of the Hohokam and ancestral Pueblo Indians who shaped the park.
Experience the Sonoran Desert Overlook for breathtaking views and spot agile bighorn sheep along the way. At the Cactus Forest Overlook, marvel at the iconic saguaro cacti and other unique desert plants.
Keep an eye out for the hardy Ocotillo plants and enjoy a picnic spot at the Mica View Trailhead. Though elusive during the day, Saguaro East National Park is home to diverse wildlife, including mountain lions.
Hike the Cactus Forest Trail to discover historic lime kilns, and take the Loma Verde Trail for a serene walk through the cactus forest. The Riparian Overlook offers a panoramic view, showcasing the park’s natural beauty.
Learn about the rattlesnakes that inhabit the area and admire the Rincon Mountains’ rich history. Watch out for the intriguing Africanized honey bees as you approach the Javelina Rocks.
Finally, explore the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail for stunning vistas before concluding your Saguaro East National Park adventure.
Enjoy the beauty of the desert and the stories it holds on this unforgettable tour!
About the Tour (West Entrance)
Your journey through West Saguaro National Park starts adjacent to 4960 W Ajo Highway in Tucson.
As you drive, dig into the secrets behind the park’s majestic mountains. Learn how they began as mere mud and hear about the tectonic changes that shaped them! Then see the Old Tucson Theme Park, a movie set turned into a totally unique theme park.
Next, stop at the Gates Pass Scenic Lookout for enchanting views of Tucson’s ancient rock formations. You’ll meet Thomas Gates, the pass’s namesake and hear about his eclectic life as a pioneer, gambler, entrepreneur, and prison superintendent!
As the journey continues, take in the grand Saguaro cacti. Uncover how they sustain the park’s wildlife, and how the Tohono O’odham once used these iconic succulents! Next stop is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, featuring all kinds of exhibits about the natural wonders of the desert. Get to know rugged homesteaders like Emilio Carillo, whose successful cattle ranch attracted a rather greedy gang and nearly cost him his life!
For more drama, you’ll learn about the area’s mining history and unearth stories full of embezzlement, greed, and kidnapping! The journey continues onto the Valley View Overlook Trail, one of the most popular (and scenic) hikes in the whole park. As you drive on, get the wild story behind the park’s formation, covering eight decades!
Discover the mysterious petroglyphs of Signal Hill and get acquainted with Geronimo, who lived not far from this very park!
Where to start?
West Entrance: South Kinney Road,4960 W Ajo Hwy, Tucson
How does it work?
- Once you book a tour, you’ll get a text/email with instructions.
- Download the app (while in good wifi/signal) and use your unique password to access your tours.
- To begin touring, go to the starting point and launch the app.
- The audio starts automatically once you reach the starting point. Stick to the tour route & speed limit for the best experience.
- Please note that no one will meet you at the starting point.
Preview The Tour
Saguaro National Park is located in southeastern Arizona. It encompasses two separate areas on either side of the city of Tucson: the Rincon Mountain District (East) and the Tucson Mountain District (West).
Saguaro National Park offers a variety of hikes for all skill levels. Some of the most popular hikes include:
Hugh Norris Trail – A challenging 10-mile round trip that offers panoramic desert views.
Tanque Verde Ridge Trail – Known for its incredible vistas, especially during sunset.
Mica View Loop – A shorter, family-friendly trail with plenty of saguaro cacti.
King Canyon Trail – Leads to the Wasson Peak, the highest point in the Tucson Mountains.
Cactus Forest Loop Drive – This is a driving loop, but there are multiple pull-outs for short hikes and photo ops.
The best time to visit Saguaro National Park is during the cooler months of November through April. During this period, temperatures are milder, making it more suitable for outdoor activities. If you visit in late spring, you might also catch the saguaros in bloom, which is a beautiful sight.
Both districts of the park have their unique features:
Saguaro East (Rincon Mountain District) – Larger than its western counterpart, this district offers a scenic loop drive, more trails, and higher elevations. The diverse elevation means varied vegetation, from desert to pine forests in the higher regions.
Saguaro West (Tucson Mountain District) – Closer to Tucson, it features dense saguaro forests, spectacular sunsets, and petroglyphs in the Signal Hill area.
As of my last update in September 2021, Saguaro One RV Park is not a known or prominent establishment within or near Saguaro National Park. It’s possible it could be a new or lesser-known establishment. If you’re inquiring about accommodations or RV sites near the park, I recommend contacting local visitor centers or conducting a recent online search for updated information.
There are numerous accommodation options around Tucson, which is centrally located between the two districts of the park. Options include:
Hotels and Resorts – Tucson offers a variety of options ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels.
Bed and Breakfasts – There are several charming B&Bs in and around Tucson.
Campgrounds – While the national park itself has limited camping options (mainly for backcountry hiking), there are campgrounds and RV parks in the surrounding area.
Dogs are allowed in Saguaro National Park but with some restrictions. They must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. While they are permitted on paved roads and in picnic areas, they are not allowed on the park trails or in the wilderness areas to protect the park’s environment and wildlife. Always ensure you clean up after your pet.
While the park doesn’t have traditional campgrounds, backcountry camping is allowed with a permit in designated wilderness areas. However, it’s important to be prepared for a true wilderness experience.
Yes, Saguaro National Park offers a unique blend of natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and cultural history, making it a must-visit destination in the American Southwest.
Both the East (Rincon Mountain District) and West (Tucson Mountain District) entrances offer unique experiences. Your choice depends on your interests. If you’re keen on scenic drives and varied ecosystems, the East is ideal. If you prefer dense saguaro forests and historical sites like petroglyphs, the West might be your best choice.
Inclusions and Exclusions
- App on your phone: A link to download the Action Tour Guide App and Password for your tours.
- Flexible schedule: Use any day, any time. Travel over multiple days or on next trip. Never expires.
- Easy to use: Stories play automatically by GPS. Hands-free. Get HELP all day: Call, Chat, or Email.
- At your own pace: No group. Take breaks for photos/ snacks/hikes. Go at your own pace.
- Offline use: No cell signal or wifi required. Offline GPS Map & route. Stop-to-stop direction.
- Don’t miss a thing: Full itinerary, travel tips, professionally narrated videos, text, and hidden gems.
- Transportation, parking fees, food, and drinks.
- Entry tickets or reservations to any attractions along the route.
- Car Rental: Please arrange a rental car at the closest airport or train station.