Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saguaro National Park-Tuscon Arizona

On our Christmas vacation to Arizona we decided to visit the Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson Arizona. From Hwy. 10, take exit 275.
We didn't have to worry about it being closed because it is open year round (except Christmas Day). 7:00 a.m. until sunset. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. There is actually two parts to the park. The West and the East section. We went to the East side because it is bigger and they have an 8 mile loop you can drive through called Cactus Forest Drive. It was much colder than we ever expected it to be in winter. The wind was blowing and every time we got out of the car, we had to hurry back because the wind was so cold. I never realized it is at the base of the Rincon Mountain range.
Saguaro branches always grow upward. Occasionally frost or snow will freeze the tissue at the base of a limb and damage it, and the weight of the branch pulls it down. If the branch survives, the growing tip will turn upward again. It seems this happened several times here.
In the most favorable conditions it may take 35 years to grow 6 feet, but more commonly it takes 47-67 years. They can grow 50 feet tall and may be as much as 85% water. A large plant may weigh 8 tons or more!
If you decide to visit, let me suggest going to their website You can actually backpack, bicycle, geocache and picnic within the park. But, beware of bears, mountain lions, snakes and many other wildlife. We didn't see any animals the day we were there, Dec. 27th. I bet they were smarter than we were and were in a nice warm place.


  1. Hi, I have been to that park when we lived in Phoenix. I just love Saguaro cactus. Once when we were driving to Tucson. I was looking at the cactus and my daughter ask what I was thinking about well, I have a big imagination. I was thinkink all those cactus looked like they were walking down the mountain out of a space ship.
    "Crazy" huh. LOL
    Have a great day, Liz.

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