On my most recent road trip through Arizona and Colorado, I explored 6 National Parks. The first one I visited was Saguaro National Park, right outside of Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro (prounounced – Sa – wah – ro) is covered in the national’s largest cacti. Until taking this trip, I didn’t realize that the park was divided into two separate districts – one on the East and one on the West with Tucson right in the middle. On this particular trip, I visited the eastern district.
To get into most National Parks, there’s a fee. At Saguaro, the $20 fee gets you into both parks. Since I was planning to visit 6 parks on this trip and others later in the year, I purchased an America the Beautiful pass for $80 online through the National Park Service. You can see the various passes they have here.
In Saguaro, they’re isn’t Wifi at the visitor’s centers and the cell reception is pretty spotty depending on where you’re at. They do have refillable water stations which are perfect to fill your bottles before entering the park. When I went in April, it was still about 94 degrees, so in the summer, making sure you have water before entering is even more important.
Each of Saguaro’s district’s has it’s own loop drive. The drive in the East is called Cactus Forest Loop Drive. It’s about 8 miles long with quite a few pullouts and overlooks. There are various places to park and hike and throughout your drive you’ll likely share the road with bicyclists. I was surprised how many bikers I saw on my drive. In the west, the loop is known as the Bajada Loop. It’s about 6 miles long. If you have time, I’d recommend them both as they both have wonderful views of the mountain ranges, cacti, and other vegetation.
I only spent about 2 hours in the park in total but you could definitely spend a whole day there if you spent time hiking or picnicking. Since I had a few hours drive ahead of me, I visited early in the morning before it got too hot out. Arizona has a total of three national parks: the Grand Canyon, Saguaro, and the Petrified Forest. If you want to spend more time at them, you could book a week long trip to the state and spend about 2 days or so around each of the National Parks.