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Saguaro National Park

Enormous and often oddly man-shaped Saguaro Cactus is the preeminent symbol of the American Southwestern. It can live as long as 150 years, reach 50 feet in height, 8 tons in weight, and provides food and shelter for dozens of desert animals. The Saguaro National Park was founded in 1933 in order to preserve this icon of desert flora and its associative habitats. The park’s 91,446 acres contain forests of these giants set against the rocky slopes of the Ricon Mountains.

The Park is open to visitors all year from sunrise to sunset. There are over 130 miles of trails to enjoy. The Cactus Forest loop is great for cyclists, though they can join pedestrians on the Cactus Forest Trail. Horses are allowed on most trails, but cannot leave the trails to enter the park. Hikers can explore the park on several wilderness trails, like the Cactus Garden Trail, or the Desert Discovery Trail.

There are picnicking areas to enjoy in Saguaro National Park as well as a Visitors Center. Camping in the Saguaro Wilderness area is allowed during the day only, and Back Country permits must be obtained before noon on the day of the hike.

The Giant Saguaro Cactus in threatened by habitat loss, weather pattern changes, vandalism and theft, but signs of recovery in the park are encouraging. The Saguaro Cactus’ large white and yellow flowers bloom after sunset in late April, June and July. The flowers provide food for the white-winged dove, the long-nosed bat, honeybees and other animals.