A Trip To The Cactus Forest Loop In Arizona – Necps (2023)

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to spend the day, then a trip to the Cactus Forest Loop in Arizona is the perfect option. Located in the Sonoran Desert, this loop offers breathtaking views of desert landscapes, towering cacti, and a variety of wildlife. From hiking to off-roading, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With its close proximity to Phoenix, getting to the Cactus Forest Loop is a breeze. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get to the Cactus Forest Loop with directions from both Phoenix and Tucson. We’ll also provide tips on what to expect and what to bring for a safe and enjoyable experience. So, get ready to explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and prepare for an unforgettable day at the Cactus Forest Loop.

Take the Cactus Forest Loop in Saguaro National Park‘s Rincon Mountain District. After completing a number of stops along the route, you can get out, learn about the desert environment, and photograph it. You must pay a park entrance fee to drive or cycle the loop. The Cactus Forest scenic drive is one of the two scenic drives within Saguaro National Park. The drive is a one-way loop that takes in a vast saguaro forest from the center. This is a must-visit if you can get there during the blooming season. It’s also worth noting that the wildflowers bloom during the summer.

This paved road crosses nine stone bridges over Sabino Creek and is known as the Sabino Canyon Trail. In certain seasons, the walls on each side provide shade. In addition to shuttles that take you to and from the top, there is a shuttle that will take you back. The trail has become a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike.

How Long Is The Loop At Saguaro National Park?

A Trip To The Cactus Forest Loop In Arizona – Necps (1)

The loop at Saguaro National Park is 8 miles long and runs along the scenic Cactus Forest Drive. The drive is lined with saguaro cacti and other desert flora, and offers stunning views of the Rincon Mountain Range. The loop is mostly unpaved but is graded and suitable for off-road vehicles as well as regular vehicles. The speed limit on the loop is 25 mph and there are several pull-outs where visitors can take pictures or simply admire the scenery. There are also a few short trails that branch off the loop and allow visitors to explore further into the desert.

The cactus forest scenic drive, as well as the other scenic drive in Saguaro National Park, are both popular. The drive has a paved eight-mile loop through the heart of an extensive saguaro forest, making it a one-way loop. A drive to most parks’ picnic areas (which include waterless toilets, grills, picnic tables, and trash cans) is a convenient way to obtain a parking spot. Saguaro National Park is divided into two distinct districts: one east and one west of Tucson. East Rincon Mountain District, with over 130 miles of hiking trails, is a popular destination for hikers. The cactus forest loop is a great place to see coyotes and other wildlife while hiking through the park. There are several tram routes that connect you to nearby trailheads. The Sabino Canyon Trail is a paved road that spans nine stone bridges over Sabino Creek. You can also hire a shuttle to take you up and down the mountain for a fee.

It’s a great place to spend a day or two if you want to make the most of your visit. There is something for everyone, whether you want to take a leisurely stroll or embark on an adventure. The park offers a variety of scenic drives, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as an eight-mile loop in the East and multiple routes in the West. If you want to try something new, make sure you stop by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Sonoran Desert’s natural history and flora and fauna can be explored at this park, and visitors can also learn about the region’s history. Saguaro National Park is known for its diverse activities, and it’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination. Furthermore, its convenient location makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking for a day trip in the mountains. You will be able to enjoy this iconic park as much as you enjoy any other destination if you add it to your bucket list.

Explore Saguaro National Park: A Journey Of Scenic Beauty

Take in the breathtaking views of Saguaro National Park in Arizona. The park has a six-mile loop that includes a one- and two-way graded dirt road, picnic areas, and hiking trails. The Bajada Loop Trail in Cortaro, Arizona is generally regarded as a relatively easy route that can take you 1 hour and 55 minutes to complete. The Saguaro National Park East has an 8-mile loop for a longer drive, whereas the Saguaro National Park West has a 38.9-mile loop trail for a shorter drive. The average travel time on this route is 16 hours and 57 minutes, and it is also considered relatively simple. You can explore an amazing array of scenery and activities in Saguaro National Park on your next trip.

Can You Drive Up The Rincon Mountains?

A Trip To The Cactus Forest Loop In Arizona – Necps (2)

Wilderness areas are not open to motorized or mechanized vehicles and equipment, such as mountain bikes. The Rincon Mountain Wilderness, which is the largest mountain range east of Tucson, is located near the towns of Oro Valley and Ranchos del Sol.

Discovering The Sonoran Desert: Exploring Saguaro National Park

Walking through Saguaro National Park is a great way to experience the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. With the drive to Saguaro National Park East or West, you can see the breathtaking views of the park from the road. This 8-mile drive in Saguaro National Park East is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to sunset. Drive through Saguaro National Park West and you’ll discover a variety of routes. The Scenic Bajada Loop Drive is the most popular way to explore the district’s foothills. The unpaved road, which is graded one- and two-ways, has scenic pullouts, picnic areas, and hiking trails and can be accessed from a variety of directions. The Rincon Mountain Wilderness Area, which is part of the Coronado National Forest, can be found on Tucson’s east side. Despite the fact that the West is a better place to explore the park for a short period of time, both districts have over 165 miles of trails. Saguaro National Park in Arizona has the perfect setting to appreciate the Sonoran Desert’s unique beauty regardless of whether you hike or drive there.

Do You Have To Pay To Get Into Saguaro Lake?

A Trip To The Cactus Forest Loop In Arizona – Necps (3)

No, you do not have to pay to get into Saguaro Lake. This lake is located in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona and is open to the public for free. The lake offers a variety of activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, and camping. There are several campgrounds located near the lake, although they do require a fee for overnight camping. Other amenities such as picnic areas, boat launches, and restrooms are also available to visitors. Spending time in the great outdoors of Saguaro Lake is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature without spending a fortune.

Can You Drive Through Saguaro National Park East?

A Trip To The Cactus Forest Loop In Arizona – Necps (4)

Yes, you can drive through Saguaro National Park East. The park is divided into two districts, the Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District. The Tucson Mountain District offers a scenic drive through the Sonoran Desert, featuring spectacular views of the iconic saguaro cacti. The Rincon Mountain District is located farther east and has more rugged terrain. Here, you can explore the Rincon Mountains and view spectacular desert landscapes. Both districts offer plenty of chances to take in the beauty of the landscape and get a glimpse of the park’s wildlife.

The Bajada Loop Drive in Saguaro National Park is one of the park’s two main scenic drives. The drive is unpaved, but it’s safe for low-profile vehicles. Most visitors begin 1.5 miles northwest of the Red Hills Visitor Center and continue clockwise from there. Because the route is divided into several one-way streets, having a map in the vehicle is required. The Bajada Loop Drive in Saguaro National Park is a breathtaking drive that offers stunning views. The cactus forest, which dates back thousands of years, provides an excellent overview of the park’s history. There are several places to picnic, hike, and look at prehistoric rock art.

Those looking for an unforgettable adventure should consider visiting the 38.9-mile loop trail near Tucson, Arizona. It is an excellent way to learn about Saguaro National Park and its surrounding areas, and it is considered a relatively simple route. The trail requires 16 hours 57 minutes to complete, so planning ahead of time is essential.
Saguaro West is the more stunning of the two options if you only have half a day to spare because it is home to a dense population of cacti, making it the ideal place to visit if you have half a day to spare. You will realize how fascinating the desert is, as well as the diverse flora and fauna found here. This trail is an unforgettable experience because of its stunning views and rich wildlife.

Should I Go To Saguaro East Or West?

The eastern section is larger and more mountainous, while the western section is lower in elevation and has a dense saguaro forest. Because there are more hiking trails in the east, it is the only region where backpacking is permitted, though the west may be preferable if time permits.

Which Side Of Saguaro National Park Is Better For Sunset?

Gates Pass (the intersection of Speedway Blvd and Route 30 on the west) is an ideal location for a sunset. After dark, there is a parking lot at the top of Tucson Mountain Park, but it closes.

How Long Is The Drive Through Saguaro National Park?

The loop drive spans eight miles (11.9 kilometers) and includes several trailheads as well as scenic vistas and pullouts. There are two trails within the park that allow biking and the loop drive, which is eight miles long.

Cactus Forest Loop Drive Map

The Cactus Forest Loop Drive Map is an incredible way to explore the Sonoran Desert. This scenic drive takes you through the heart of the desert and around the rugged terrain of the Saguaro National Park. You will be able to take in the unique beauty of the desert and experience some of the most spectacular views of the desert. Along the way, you will be able to visit some of the most popular attractions, including the Cactus Garden, the Desert Museum, and the Ironwood Forest National Monument. The drive also gives you the opportunity to explore some of the native wildlife and plants in the area. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this is an ideal way to explore the Sonoran Desert.

Exploring Arizona’s Cactus Forests – An Unforgettable Journey

The breathtaking Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive, a scenic 8-mile drive through the desert, is a scenic drive worth seeing in Tucson, Arizona. The road is paved and has paved sections, so you can drive one way or two ways, as well as scenic views and trailheads. Because there is no parking on the road, it is not suitable for large vehicles such as RVs and other large vehicles. In addition, if you want a more memorable experience, you can take a trip to Saguaro National Park East, which is also home to an 8-mile one-way loop through a spectacular saguaro forest. During the blooming season, it is easy to imagine yourself completely submerged in the beauty of the blooming cacti. Whether you choose to explore the breathtaking landscape of the Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive or Saguaro National Park East, you’ll have an unforgettable trip.

Cactus Forest Drive Directions

If you’re looking for a scenic drive, a cactus forest drive is the perfect option! The drive begins in the town of Tucson, Arizona and winds through the beautiful Sonoran Desert. You’ll be surrounded by a variety of cacti, shrubs and other desert vegetation as you take in the breathtaking views of the mountains, desert and saguaro cacti. The drive takes about two hours and takes you past the Saguaro National Park, the Coronado National Forest, and the Rincon Mountains. Along the way, you’ll also be able to spot various wildlife, including coyotes and javelinas. Before you start your drive, make sure to check your GPS for the best route and to also bring plenty of water and snacks. Enjoy the ride!

How Long Is Cactus Forest Drive Tucson?

The Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive is a paved, two-way, one-way road that lacks parking for large vehicles or RV’s. The Loop Drive, which stretches for 8 miles (11.9 km), includes trailheads, scenic views, and pullouts.

Exploring Saguaro National Park: East Or West?

When choosing between Saguaro National Park East and West, it really is up to you, as you have the ability to get the most out of your visit with the limited time and the type of activities you are interested in. If you want to see the park from the comfort of your own home, it is best to use Saguaro National Park East rather than Saguaro National Park West. The east district of the park is home to over 165 miles of trails, making it the only place in the park where backpackers can take in a wide range of scenery. Those who arrive at the park late will find the most convenient way to explore the park’s beauty in the West district. With the Bajada Loop, a popular drive that gives you a quick snapshot of the park’s unique landscape, you can quickly get a feel for its unusual terrain. You will be able to experience Saguaro National Park in any of the district you choose.

Saguaro National Park East

Saguaro National Park East is a stunning desert landscape located in the Rincon Mountains of Arizona. The park is home to the iconic Saguaro cactus, which stands at heights of up to 50 feet tall. Visitors can explore the many trails and scenic vistas throughout the park, as well as visit the historic Signal Hill Picnic Area. With over 91,000 acres of land, the park is also a great place to observe a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, javelinas, and the endangered Sonoran pronghorn. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike or an exciting outdoor experience, Saguaro National Park East is the perfect place to explore and appreciate the beauty of nature.

There is no better way to see the majestic Saguaro National Park than to visit Tucson, Arizona. This park is just outside of Tucson, and it is divided into two districts; the Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. Both of these mountain ranges are ideal for hiking and sightseeing, but the Rincon Mountain District is especially stunning for its diverse wildlife, including the rarely seen black bear. Bears typically live at the highest elevations of the mountain district, but may venture down to lower elevations during severe drought when food and water are scarce. With a stay in Tucson, you can easily explore the two districts of the Saguaro National Park, as well as see the incredible wildlife that the park is known for.


How long is the loop at Saguaro National Park? ›

The Loop Drive features several trailheads, scenic vistas, and pullouts in a total of 8 miles (12.9 km). Biking- Bicycling is allowed on the 8 mile Loop Drive as well as on two trails within the park. The Loop Drive is narrow with many tight turns and steep hills.

How long does it take to drive through Saguaro National Park? ›

Try this 38.9-mile loop trail near Tucson, Arizona. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 16 h 57 min to complete.

How long is the drive through Saguaro National Park East? ›

The drive in Saguaro National Park East is a paved eight mile one way loop and the drive in Saguaro National Park West has several routes.

How much time needed at Petrified Forest? ›

The petrified logs date back hundreds of millions of years, to a time when this land was once lush and fertile. These trees fell and became the mineralized versions of their original forms even before dinosaurs walked the earth. Petrified Forest National Park is small so you really only need one day to explore it.

How long should I spend in Saguaro National Park? ›

We recommend spending 1-2 days in Saguaro National Park. There are so many fun places to explore and things to do in Saguaro National Park. If you want to go at a slower pace, you can take an extra day to explore the park and add in a stop at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

What is the best time of year to visit Saguaro National Park? ›

The best time to visit Saguaro National Park is in the winter (December – February). Visitation during this time of year is low, temperatures are mild and pleasant with a few cold snaps possible here and there.

Which part of Saguaro National Park is best? ›

The eastern section is larger and more mountainous, the western portion is lower in elevation and boasts a denser saguaro forest. The east has more hiking trails and is the only region where backpacking is allowed, the west is the better choice if time is short.

What is Saguaro National Park famous for? ›

Saguaro National Park protects our largest cacti species, the saguaro, and features camping, hiking, and backpacking trails for every level. For many, the Giant Saguaro cactus, silhouetted by the setting sun, is the universal symbol of the American West.

How do you spend a day in Saguaro National Park? ›

Saguaro National Park: One Day Itinerary
  1. Drive the entire Cactus Forest Drive Loop. This is an 8 mile paved road that will take you past all the major attractions on this side of the park. ...
  2. Hike Mica View Trail. ...
  3. Walk the Desert Ecology Trail. ...
  4. Cactus Forest Trail. ...
  5. Rincon Mountain Overlook.
Jun 6, 2021

Can you take saguaro skeletons? ›

It is illegal to remove Saguaro and Cholla skeletons from the desert, unless you have permission from the owner. Specimens can sometimes be purchased at certain plant nurseries that specialize in cacti.

What is the most beautiful park in Arizona? ›

The Grand Canyon is Arizona's most beautiful national park. Famed around the world for its size, scale, and splendor, the Grand Canyon boasts some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth.

How much does it cost to go to Saguaro National Park? ›

How much does it cost to visit Saguaro National Park? Vehicle permits are $20; the permit admits one vehicle and all its passengers. If you can plan to arrive on foot or by bicycle, you can purchase an individual permit for $10. Kids 15 and under are always admitted free of charge.

What is the most popular hike in Saguaro National Park? ›

One of the most popular hikes in Saguaro National Park East is the Douglas Spring Trail, a 16.6 mile long out and back that has a waterfall and many amazing vistas that overlook the Arizona landscapes. It is accessible year-round and you can go horseback on the trail.

Is Saguaro National Park worth it? ›

Saguaro National Park is probably one of the less well known National Parks of America, but given its proximity to Tucson it's well worth visiting if you happen to be in the area. It's a beautiful place to spend time, especially at sunset where you'll get silhouettes of the cacti all over the desert.

Do you have to pay to get into Saguaro Lake? ›

Saguaro National Park 2022 Annual Pass - Cost $45.00

It admits the purchaser and any accompanying persons in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle, or pass holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person entrance fees are charged.

Do you have to pay to get into Saguaro National Park? ›

Visitors can purchase weekly entrance fees, Saguaro National Park Annual Passes, and Interagency Annual Passes. Payment or a valid pass is required at all hours, whether staff is present or not. To purchase an entry fee when staff is not present, see mobile & iron ranger/self -pay options on Ways to Pay Fees.

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