The Sonoran desert is the only place in the world to find this giant cactus. These Giant Saguaro are the universal symbol of the American West. The park protects some of the most impressive forests of these Giant Saguaro. If you like to experience the southwestern landscape Saguaro is the perfect destination for your trip. The park also has plenty of activities to offer like hiking, birdwatching, stargazing and much more. Saguaro National Park is the most loved place by photographers for its stunning landscape. Here we have mentioned the top places to visit at Saguaro National Park.
Bajada Loop Drive
Bajada Loop Drive is a popular way to explore Saguaro. It is a 6.0 mile scene drive through Saguaro West that features spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert, with pullouts. These pullouts are perfect for photographers, picnicking, hiking, and sight-seeing. It is a graded dirt road that is suitable for low clearance vehicles. The loop starts near the Red Hills Visitor Center.
You get several options to drive through the Bajada Loop. You can start from 1.5 miles northwest of the Red Hills Visitor Center or the 1.4 mile Signal Hill Trail at the Signal Hill picnic area. The drive rewards you with some breathtaking views you also get to see the wildlife of the park.
Valley View Overlook
Valley View Overlook Trail is a 1.3 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail. The trail is suitable for all levels of hikers. It is a short and easy trail ending with the views of Avra Valley and Picacho Peak. The trail is well maintained which takes you through the saguaro desert. At the end of the trail get to see a lone bench where you can sit and enjoy the endless mountain views.
The trail is located in the Tucson Mountain District of the park. To access the trail you need to head 3 miles north from the Red Hills Visitor Center. From the visitor center travel 1.5 miles north on N. Kinney Road, then take a right on Hohokam Road.
Signal Hill Petroglyphs
Signal Hill Trail is less than 0.5 miles roundtrip, the Signal Hill Petroglyph historic site with dozens of petroglyphs. The Signal Hill area is the largest petroglyph site in the Tucson Mountain District. These petroglyphs were created between about 550 to 1550 years ago.
Signal Hill is a minor summit rising just 50 feet above the ground. The hill is covered by large boulders of granodiorite. As you reach the hill top you get some stunning views. The major attraction is the petroglyphs carved on the surface of the rocks which would have been left here during hunting expeditions.
Desert Discovery Nature Trail
Desert Discovery Nature Trail is a 0.6 kilometer that features giant saguaro cacti, wild animals, plants, and ecology of the Sonoran Desert. The trail is used for hiking nature trips and also bird watching. It is a short and relaxing trail with beautiful landscape. The trail is perfect for families with kids and it also is fully wheelchair accessible. There are also a few spots to rest in the shade. As you hike through the trail you get a closer look of giant saguaro cacti.
Wasson Peak is the tallest mountain in the Saguaro National Park. This loop takes you through the grand desert and some of the thickest Saguaro forest in Arizona. At the peak of the mountain it gives some stunning views of Tucson, the Santa Catalina Mountains. Hiking to the Wasson Peak is the most popular activity in the park. The panoramic view is the best place in the park to watch the sunset and sunrise. The impressive part of the trail is the saguaro cacti.
Cactus Forest Loop Drive
Cactus Forest Loop Drive is an 8-mile loop through Saguaro East. The loop is a 8 miles loop with trailheads and several pullouts with stunning views. The loop runs through Saguaro forest and you get to see plenty of Carnegiea gigantea.
Any vehicle wider than 8 feet is not permitted on the Cactus Forest Drive. The loop is a paved, combination one and two-way road but lacks parking for RV’s and larger vehicles.
Mica View Loop Drive
Mica View Loop Drive is a 2-mile trip and easily accessible trail. The loop offers stunning views of the Rincon and Santa Catalina Mountains. You also get a close to giant Saguaro cacti.