Jul 21

Saguaro National Park West

Tucson DesertAfter visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is wonderful place by the way, I decided to stop by the western section of Saguaro National Park.  I had already been to Saguaro National Park East and enjoyed my visit there hiking and driving the scenic Cactus Forest Drive so I wanted to see what the western part of the national park had to offer.    For those that do not know the Saguaro National Park is divided up into two sections or districts. There is one east of Tucson and the other section is on the Westside of town. So I highly recommend seeing them on different days and couple the other attractions that the Tucson area has to offer with each section of the national park.
Cacti Saguaro National Park West is located about 15 miles west of the city Tucson and is smaller and at a lower elevation then its eastern counterpart.  Though it is smaller it is still worth a visit because it still has a large collection of saguaros and that is probably the reason you are visiting this particular national park.  Unlike the east side of Saguaro National Park this one has no backcountry backpacking but there are a few day hiking trails, a nice visitor center and some friendly park rangers to give you the lay of the land.
Hohokam Road I personally liked the eastern part of the park better for a couple reasons.  There is a highway that runs through the park so if you stay on that you will not have to pay the $10 fee to visit the park.  So, it does not feel as secluded as the other park, but since I had already paid to see the eastern section the ticket was good for 7 days to both areas which is nice.  I did drive the Hohokam Road aka Bajada Loop Drive which is the only backcountry drive in the park, and was hoping it was going to be more like the Cactus Forest Drive which I drove the previous day.  It had decent scenery, but the road is unpaved, which I do not mind because I grew up in the country and drove dirt roads all the time, however it just did not wow me as much as the drive in the eastern part of the park.  Finally, the last thing that made this trip a little bit of downer for me was the weather, which has nothing to do with the park, but just made my overall trip not as special.  The weather was cloudy and sprinkling off and on the whole time I was there which made any sort of hiking or taking pictures more annoying than fun.
Saguaros While there I was able to do two short hikes.  The Valley View Overlook Trail which leads to a viewpoint which displays a flat area that is covered in saguaros with rocky hills as the background.  The second trail that I walked was the short paved Desert Discovery Nature Trail which gives information on the parks ecology.  I would recommend doing both of these short hikes if the weather is not burning hot.
Hiking Trail Saguaro National Park West is at least worth a quick stop, especially if you are already in the area.  If I was ever in the Tucson area again I would go back particularly if the sky is clear because a person could get some wonderful shots of the landscape especially around sunset.
Saguaro National Park West Saguaro National Park West
Located at 2700 N. Kinney Rd, Saguaro National Park, AZ
Hours of Operation – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the year except Christmas Day
Cost as of this posting — $10.00 per privately owned vehicle $5.00 for any individual on foot or bicycle the receipt last for 7 days
For more information visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/
Saguaro National Park

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