Tall cactus in Saguaro National Park

For A Stunning Desert Getaway, Head To This Underrated Arizona Park

By Hillary Louise Johnson


Saguaro National Park is named after the mighty Saguaro Cactus. Once at risk, there are now 2 million Saguaro in the 91,000-acre park, located in Arizona's Sonoran Desert.
This region has five seasons: Spring, the dry "foresummer," the summer monsoons, fall, and winter. Foresummer in May and June is when crowns of white flowers appear on the cacti.
The 6-mile Bajada Loop Drive offers abundant, cactus-filled vistas. Highlights include the Signal Hill Picnic area and petroglyphs, as well as the Valley View Overlook Trail.
The west side of the park is all about getting up close to the cacti. Saguaro can take decades to reach the heights prized by landscapers, and they are prized by Native cultures.
Saguaro's east side has fewer cacti but is more mountainous. The 10-mile Cactus Forest Trail is an easy day hike, and in early spring, you'll see lots of desert wildflowers.
Visitors can also watch the sunset at the overlook at Javelina Rocks, a photogenic set of striated outcroppings. Sunset and sunrise are the best times to spot a herd of Javelinas.