Things to Do in Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is a hidden gem - filled to the brim with scenic hikes & drives, ancient history sites, and a museum. With this list, we’ll help you make the most of your trip!
1. Get the Shaka Guide Tour!
Shaka Guide’s Saguaro National Park tour is a great way to experience not just the beauty of this incredible park, but also understand in more depth why this area is so important. It’s so easy to use, too – just download the app, buy the Saguaro National Park Tour and start driving. You’ll hear great stories about the stops, get to know which places are the best to spend time in, have some hiking options, and hopefully see cool wildlife. And nothing beats having a personal guide right there in the car with you, giving you directions and telling you exactly what you need to know.
Hiking is a great way to see the desert up close. With the proper clothing and plenty of water, hiking in the desert can be fun and filled with chances to glimpse reptiles and birds, maybe even see the elusive Gila Monster, North America’s largest lizard.
3. The Red Hills Visitor Center
Scott Edmunds, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Learn about the park and ask questions at the Red Hills Visitor Center, or sign up for ranger-led activities or to camp overnight.
2700 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
4. Horseback rides
Horseback riding is a popular activity in the park, but can be done only on designated roads and trails.
There’s no vehicle camping in Saguaro National Park, but there are numerous campgrounds and RV parks in and around Tucson. The closest is the Gilbert Ray site in Tucson Mountain Park, a five minute drive from the Red Hills Visitor Center. Backcountry camping is allowed inthe park, but must done with a permit.
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6. Drive the Cactus Loop Drive in the Rincón (East) Side
One of the amazing things about the desert is that it’s so pretty even from your car. Numerous drives will take you through breathtaking stands of saguaro cacti and huge prickly pears. If you have the Shaka Guide Saguaro National Park Tour you’ll take the famous Bajada Loop, but the Cactus Loop Drive in Rincón is spectacular, too. Drive them both since your park admission is good for 7 days!
7. Watch Beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets
You’ll have plenty of chances to ooh and ahh about the sunset. And early risers will get a treat each morning as the sun rises above the quiet desert and slowly dims the stars.
8. Take incredible photos
Photography is a popular “sport” here in Saguaro National Park, attracting a variety of professionals for its incredible birding, interesting animal life, and jaw-dropping landscape opportunities. Whether you’re an expert or novice, don’t forget to pack your camera on a visit to this one-of-a-kind park.
9. See ancient petroglyphs
This park is more than just the cacti it’s famous for. Hohokam petroglyphs drawn on the Signal Hill rocks have survived for centuries, we recommend making a stop to see them.
10. Run the Saguaro Half Marathon
Runners and joggers will enjoy the chance to compete in the Saguaro Half Marathon on a trail through the Sonoran Desert located outside of western Tucson.
11. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Michelle Maria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Often called the “jewel of the desert” this museum offers far more than just dioramas. There are live animals, botanical gardens, and live shows such as a raptor demonstration that draw huge crowds. It’s also the closest spot to grab a bite to eat!
Saguaro National Park is full of picturesque viewpoints, scenic hikes, and more - there's much to see and enjoy, so don't miss a beat!
Ready to explore this unique national park? Check out our Saguaro National Park Tour!