Saguaro National Park protects and preserves the giant saguaro cactus forest in the Sonoran Desert. The saguaro has been described as the monarch of the Sonoran Desert, as a prickly horror, as the supreme symbol of the American Southwest, and as a plant with personality. It is renowned for the variety of odd, all-too-human shapes it assumes, shapes that inspire wild and fanciful imaginings.
Giant saguaro cacti, unique to the Sonoran Desert, sometimes reach a height of 50 feet in this cactus forest, which covers the valley floor, rising into the Rincon and West Tucson mountains. Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within Saguaro National Park. Preserved along with it are many other members of the Sonoran Desert community--other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals. In lushness and variety of life the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts.
There are two districts within Saguaro National Park: Saguaro East, the Rincon Mountain District and Saguaro West, the Tucson Mountain District. Both districts have visitor centers that are staffed and offer slide shows, museums, cactus gardens, and a sales outlet. They both also have miles of trails for hiking and scenic loop drives. Numerous guided walks are offered at each visitor center. Published schedules of programs are available during the winter season. Special environmental education programs are frequently conducted for local school groups. Several Junior Ranger Programs are available.
Both districts of the park (east and west) are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Visitor centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except Christmas.