Get up Close and Personal with the Sonoran Desert’s most Iconic Character
The iconic Saguaro cactus is the largest of its kind in North America, growing up to 70 feet, and can live for up to 200 years. Saguaro (pronounced “sa-WAH-roh”) National Park is the very essence of the American southwest – conjuring images of rolling amber ridges dotted with majestic, almost human-like cacti silhouetted perfectly against the setting orange-red desert sun. It is the most stunning of Arizona’s national parks.
Saguaro NP West is also known as the Tucson Mountain District and the more popular of the two sections of this incredible national park. Is an easy 20-minute drive from our historic inn, full of incredible desert scenery, interpretive trails, and educational displays at the visitor’s center.
Experience Saguaro on Foot
By far the best way to explore this area is to go on a hike. Valley View Overlook Trail is an easy 0.8-mile jaunt through densely-covered cactus land, including prickly pears and ironwood trees. At the end of the trail is an amazing view of the park. Located on Bajada Loop Drive, this is a great hike for all ages.
Signal Hill Petroglyphs is a short ½-mile roundtrip jaunt to a lovely viewpoint, where along the way you can see ancient petroglyphs drawn by the Hohokam people over 800 years ago. Start the trail at the Signal Hill picnic area on Bajada Loop Drive.
For the more adventurous, a hike to Wassen Peak is in order. Rated as strenuous, this 8-mile round trip hike is well worth it, with one of the best views of the park. You can start on the Sendero Esperanza Trail, then hook on to the Hugh Norris Trail to the top of Wassen Peak at 4,687 feet above sea level. This is an especially stunning place to catch the sun set.
If your visit is between late May and June, be sure to look out for desert blooms on the cacti – gorgeous white and waxy flowers that is also Arizona’s state flower.
Take in the Beauty of Saguaro on Two (or Four) Wheels
Whether you opt for an invigorating bike ride or feel more like a leisurely car ride, the west side of the park does not disappoint. The Bajada Loop Drive stretches 6 miles and is unpaved, but it takes you through the dense part of cacti land and offers endless photographic opportunities. This road is prone to flash floods during the monsoon season of July and August, so be sure to check the road conditions at the visitor’s center during this time of year.
Come Back to Armory Park Inn and Relax
When the adventures of the day are done, the Amory Park Inn offers all of the amenities you want in your Tuscon home base. Our boutique inn is a historic building constructed in 1875, with inviting and peaceful exterior spaces. Fall gently asleep with our luxury linens, comfortable beds, and beautiful interiors. Wake up refreshed in the morning and fuel up on our 3-course breakfast, lovingly made with locally-sourced ingredients. Then in the evening, join us for ‘Armory Hour’, our complimentary happy hour.