Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ

Even if you’ve never heard of saguaro (sa-WAH-ro) before, chances are you’ll immediately think of the American Southwest the moment you see one. The cacti’s stately silhouette is used to brand everything from Old El Paso food products to westerns filmed throughout the southwest. Only the saguaro doesn’t naturally grow within 250 miles of El Paso, TX or in most southwestern states, for that matter. The tree-like cactus makes its home exclusively in the Sonora desert, which covers parts of Arizona, California, and Mexico.

The incredible saguaro can live up to 200 years and grow to heights of 70 feet tall. It thrives in the harsh desert environment with a root system that usually only descends about five inches into the ground. But when it rains, the cactus absorbs so much water that it visibly expands. A fully hydrated saguaro can weigh over 4,000 pounds.

Saguaro Cactus

In 1933 President Herbert Hoover created Saguaro National Park to protect and display this iconic giant. The park has two distinct regions, separated by the city of Tucson, Arizona. Both districts are similar in features and both offer miles of scenic roads to travel and many more miles of trails to hike. Either one is a great choice for an up-close and personal encounter with this prickly, but loveable, beast.

Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ

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13 Comments on “Saguaro National Park”

  1. Barbra & Jack Donachy June 13, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Amazing!

  2. wvfarm2u June 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    It was on a trip to Tuscon that a visit to the Saguaro National park and the Desert Museum helped me understand about all the life that exists in that ecosystem. Coming from the Northeast all I saw was brown..and dryness. Lots to learn.

    • Brian June 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      It’s amazing the kinds of critters that thrive in these hostile environments.

  3. cravesadventure June 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Love that you hugged a cactus – ha!

    • Brian June 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      Cacti need love too. :-)

  4. allthingsboys June 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    http://allthingsboys.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/wonderful-awards/ tagged you in a game of tag, if you are interested…

  5. earthpplejane June 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    We went there in the 70′s, in our campervan (vw of course!). An amazing place! Wonderful memories, thank you:)

    • Brian June 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      Glad to give you a glimpse of the place ~40 years later.

  6. Country Skipper June 14, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    They are so unbelievably big. I had no idea how big they could get until I saw that last picture. Crazy!

    • Brian June 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      Yeah, they’re pretty cool to see up close. They’re one of those things that are completely familiar but still really amazing to see in person.

  7. seniledenial June 14, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Great blog! I also love the stately Saguaro, but I always feel bad when I am in Arizona (not in the park but just driving around) to see all the bullet holes, golf ball holes etc in so many of the beautiful plants.

    • Brian June 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      Agreed. I never understood the impulse to destroy things.

  8. allthingsboys June 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Great Photos. Don’t know why I didn’t mention it before…

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