Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections, lying approximately 20 miles (32 km) east and 15 miles (24 km) west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. Total area in 2002 was 143 square miles (91,327 acres) (370 km²) of which 111 square miles (289 km²) is designated wilderness. There is a visitor center in each section. Both are easily reached by car from Tucson, but there is no public transport into either section. Both sections conserve fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert, including ranges of significant hills, the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east. The park gets its name from the saguaro cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel cactus, cholla cactus, and prickly pear, are also abundant in the park. Three endangered species of animals live in the park: the Mexican Spotted Owl, Sonoran Tiger Salamander, and Lesser Long-nosed Bat.
Facilities in the park include 150 miles (240 km) of well marked and maintained hiking trails, and shorter walking trails with interpretative information available. Hiking is not advisable during the hot summer months.
Rincon Mountain District
The Rincon Mountain District is located at the eastern edge of Tucson, Arizona; the east side of the park was the first side created between the two. What is unique about this park is that it starts off in the Sonoran Desert and gradually gives way to the High Alpine Forest of the Rincon Mountains. While this side of the park has fewer Saguaros than its counterpart they remain larger in size, due to higher amounts of rainfall and run off from the Rincon Mountains.
The key feature of this district is its 8.3 mile loop, which connects its two picnic areas and central trails. Recently after a lengthy road repavement and widding project, and refurbishment of the Visitor Center, the Rincon District is fully open once more.
Hiking on this side of the park is readily accessible to visitors, there are trail heads present at the east end of Speedway and Broadway, these trail heads are commonly used by horses and get heavy usage on the weekends. Off the park's loop road there are several additional trail heads.
And at the southern boundary of the park is the Hope Camp Trails which are also commonly used for horses. Access to the Hope Camp Trails is found at the end of Camino Loma Alta, however the road is no longer paved for the last couple hundred yards. This section of the park was added in 1991 when Congress authroized the purchase of 4,011 acres.
Use regulations to be aware of are dogs are not allowed on the trails, and must be on a leash at all times, and bikes are confined to the loop road and the Cactus Forest Trail.
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|Operated by the Bureau of Land Management|