Get Out of the City and Explore Saguaro National Park

GIVE YOUR TUCSON MEETING ATTENDEES a special experience: a visit to the only national park that protects the biggest cactus in the U.S. for all to enjoy.

Arms of the mighty saguaro stretch to crystal-blue skies in the Sonoran Desert. Saguaro National Park (East or West) is the best place to see these rare giant cacti. Thanks to the two separate districts, Tucson is afforded a rare natural luxury; how many other cities can claim to be bordered by a national park on two sides?

More than 800,000 people from around the world visit Saguaro National Park annually for year-round hiking, picnicking, bicycling, backcountry camping, bird watching, and otherworldly scenic views.

The park offers easily accessible outdoor adventures in mountain ranges and bajadas (slopes) flanking Tucson on the east and west. With less than a 10-mile drive from anywhere in Tucson, visitors can discover flora— including 200-year-old saguaro cacti—and fauna found nowhere else in the world just by taking a short drive to this natural wilderness.

Gather your group and arrange to attend regularly scheduled talks, demonstrations, and guided group hikes that immerse you in the world’s lushest desert. Find a variety of cactus, agave, yucca, and other desert-loving succulents, as well as wildflowers and paloverde and mesquite trees.

Ranger-led star parties, moonlight hikes, and nighttime programs show how alive the desert is after the sun goes down.

Service projects are readily available for your group, from pulling invasive plants to maintaining trails. You can do some good for the environment while team-building.

Each district has a personality of its own. A visitor center on each side helps your group get its bearings.

Desert Cholla Saguaro West

The Tucson Mountain District to the west has large stands of saguaros. Its lower elevation produces a dry, desert landscape that’s home to coyote, Gambel’s quail, Gila woodpecker, cactus wren, javelina, desert tortoise, and several species of bats.

All but large charter buses can drive along the unpaved, five-mile scenic Bajada Loop. Along the loop are picnic tables and a spur leading to ancient Native American petroglyphs.

The Rincon Mountain District to the east covers a larger elevation range with oak woodland and pine forest. Its greater rainfall and cooler temperatures compared to the west unit foster a more diverse wildlife. In addition to the animals found in the west district, you can spot the northern cardinal, ringtail cat, and black bear.

The paved eight-mile Cactus Forest Loop can accommodate vehicles as large as tour buses. One highlight is the trailhead for the one-mile Freeman Homestead Trail, which leads hikers to the ruins of an early 20th-century adobe home.

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