What to do in Saguaro National Park if you are limited on time
June 25th, 2020
Dog Friendly: Yes, but must be leashed.
Fee: Yes. $25 per car. Due to COVID-19 the Red Hills Visitor Center is closed. You pay the $25 at a box at the visitors center. It is based on an honor system. Please pay! It helps our parks!
Restrooms at trailhead: Yes! There was restrooms at a lot of the Bajada Scenic Drive Trails, but there are also restrooms at the visitors centers.
THINGS TO DO:
Since we didn’t have a lot of time because we had tickets to go to Kartchner Caverns we decided to go to the West end of the park. The park is separated into two sides. East & West. The West side is recommended if you don’t have a lot of time and the East side has a lot more hiking trails. On the West side of the park there is a scenic drive that is called Bajada Scenic Loop. We didn’t want to come in through the main entrance way. So we came in through Wade Road, which turns into Picture Rock Road. We did this because we wanted to drive down Golden Gate Road, a road that is suited for high-clearance vehicles. However, this road ended up being closed! It was only closed to cars. You can walk, bike, and ride a horse down it. It said it is closed due to the water damage. We decided to walk down the road for a little bit. We arrived to this spot around 6:00am. When we were walking down this road we heard laughter. At first I thought it was from a group of campers that we couldn’t see, but then we realized it was a pack coyotes! We never saw them, we just heard them. It definitely spooked me out a little bit since we were the only people in sight. We took some amazing pictures here with the sun rising over the mountains and then we headed back to our car to head towards the scenic drive.
We did hike one trail off of the Bajada Scenic Loop called the Bajada Wash Trail. We hiked about 2.1 miles. It is supposed to be a mile to Valley View Trailhead, but we ended up turning around when we got to 1 mile because we needed to head back to the car so we could still make it to the caverns. This was beautiful! Being surrounded by the huge saguaros is magical. It’s crazy to think that some of these saguaros are 200 years old. There are a ton of different hiking trails throughout the West side of the park. The Bajada Scenic Loop is perfect if you don’t have a lot of time, but still want to see the beauty of the park! We ended up seeing a lot of wildlife (no rattlesnakes thankfully). We saw a cottontail rabbit, which was huge! We saw some deer, well we think we saw deer, we aren’t exactly sure what it was. Keep your eyes and hears a lot! This park is full of wildlife. Happy Hiking! & always remember to Leave No Trace.