saguaro national park cactus

 

The Ultimate Saguaro National Park RV Adventure Guide

 

If you yearn for a long scenic RV trip on a lonely desert landscape, head to Saguaro National Park—a place teeming with giant Saguaro cactus. These imposing plants are an iconic symbol of the American west and are dubbed as the kings of the Sonoran Desert.

Apart from these goofy and prickly characters, the park offers breathtaking mountain views, scenic hiking trails, and lots of wildlife, making it a perfect RVing destination. The best part is you don’t have to own an RV to have a fun-filled desert adventure. Simply visit our RV rental marketplace and search for the perfect motorhome, travel trailer, or camper van.

A Few Facts About Saguaro National Park

Located in southern Arizona, Saguaro National Park is a 92,000-acre desert wonderland full of spine-covered vegetation. The park’s centerpiece is the Saguaro cactus, the largest Cacti in the entire US. The average Saguaro is 50 feet tall, weighs six tons, and lives between 150-175 years. Some even get to 250 years. And they only start to produce flowers when they’re 35 years.

The first inhabitants of this region were the Hohokam tribe, who lived around a thousand years ago. Today, it’s an ancestral home to the Tohono O’odham Nation, who continue to play a role in the park’s culture. The park was declared a national monument in 1933 and upgraded to a national park in 1994.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Saguaro National Park in an RV?

If you want to avoid the desert heat, the prime time to visit Saguaro National Park is around spring and fall. A winter visit is also great since the weather is pleasant during the day, although it can get chilly in the mornings and evenings.

If you want to see the desert in bloom, many of the cacti come to life in March and April. This is the perfect time to witness a truly magical scene. Visitors avoid summer due to the blistering heat. But if you prefer to experience the desert at the height of summer, remember to rent an RV with proper air conditioning.

Getting to Saguaro National Park in a Rental RV

Traveling to Saguaro National Park by RV is a breeze. First, the road network is great, and second, the park is located near a major city—Tucson. This city splits the park into two—Rincon Mountain District in the east and the Tucson Mountain District in the west.

The park’s proximity to a major city means RVers won’t have a shortage of things to see and do, plus there will be a stone’s throw away from gas stations, stores, and recreational centers. Rent an RV in Tucson and get to the park’s entrance in 1 hour. If you prefer to fly into Phoenix and drive an rental RV to the park, you’ll get to enjoy a 123-mile road trip.

Major Attractions in Saguaro National Park

The main draw is the Saguaro cactus forest that stretches miles and miles. You’ll also witness other desert mainstays such as cholla cactus, barrel cactus, ocotillo, and desert wildflowers. Apart from the spiky and strangely shaped plants, you’ll encounter countless birds, mammals, and insects that thrive in the harsh terrain.

Again, Saguaro National Park is not just about cacti and deserts. It has a mountainous zone where pine and coniferous forests shelter big game, such as deer, and powerful predators like the black bear. Both sections of the park have abundant trails that you can walk or cycle to get an up-close view of life inside the park.

What Activities can RVers Do in Saguaro National Park?

Scenic RV Drive

If you prefer to explore national parks from the comfort of your rig, Saguaro makes that easy for you. Start with the 8-mile Cactus Forest Loop overlooking a valley in the east section of the park. This route will give you opportunities to admire the best parts of the sweeping landscape. You can also take the Bajada Scenic Loop Drive on the western side.

Hiking

Another way to explore the national park is by foot, and there are over 165 miles of trail available. In the western section of the park, the crown jewel for hikers is the trail that leads to Wasson Peak, which stands 4,687 feet tall. If you are looking for an easier route, take the Valley View Trail and soak in some breathtaking views. On the east side, follow the Freeman Homestead Trail to wander among beautiful wildflowers and giant saguaros.

Explore a Pre-Historic Site

There are over 200 petroglyphs near the rocky Signal Hill on the west section. These rock arts are thought to have been created by Native Americans around 1000 years ago. It’s also the perfect place to stop for a snack.

Check Out the Visitor Center

The park’s visitor section has a lot in store for you. You can inspect the museum exhibits, enlighten yourself in the educative slide shows, and get information that will help you discover the sweetest spots in the park.

saguaro national park sunset

Sunset Viewing

Sunsets in Saguaro National Park are spectacular, and both sections of the park have spots where you can watch the sun go down—Tanque Verde Ridge trail on the east side and Gates Pass on the west. Just make sure you add a camera to your RV trip packing checklist.

Best RV Campground in Saguaro National Park

Although the park has no RV-accessible campgrounds, there are plenty of options nearby. Here are some of the best:

  • Tucson Lazydays KOA Resort – This RVers paradise offers full hookups, Cable TV, WiFi, a fireplace, a pool, a hot sauna, a fitness center, and plenty of entertainment options. 
  • Gilbert Ray Campground – Located on the west side of the park, this campground offers electric hookups, a dump station, and water in addition to a picnic table and fire ring.
  • Justin’s Diamond J RV Park – This campground has a capacity of 125, and it has full hookups, WiFi, a laundry area, and a trash site.
  • Rincon Country East RV Resort – On the east side of the park, this campground is very popular with RVers. It has 456 sites, and each one has full hookups, free WiFi, cable TV, a pool, and plenty of recreational options.

Cruise to Saguaro National Park in a Rental RV

If you are planning an RV trip to Saguaro National Park, you’re in for a treat. Majestic and beautiful cacti, stunning mountains, and fascinating sunsets await you there. Rent a travel trailer or RV and explore the park on your own schedule.