• Saguaro Blooms Upclose


    National Park Arizona

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Tucson Mountain District Roads Closed Due to Flash Flooding

    Several interior roads, including the scenic loop, are closed in Tucson Mountain District (west) due to severe storms and flash flooding on August 26th. Roads will remain closed until further notice. Check the park's facebook page for updated information More »

  • Labor Day Run - Rincon Mountain District Road Closure - Sept. 1st

    Due to the Annual Labor Day Run, Saguaro National Park's Rincon Mountain District Loop Drive will be closed from 4:00am to approx 10:30am on Sept. 1, 2014. Please be advised of vehicle congestion along roadsides when approaching the park during this time. More »

Homesteaders at Saguaro's Rincon Mountain District

Benitez Sisters

The Benities Sisters in Sunday Best

Arizona Historical Society

The surrender of Apache leader Geronimo marked the end of a troubled era in the Tucson Basin. The residents of the former Mexican village, protected by the U.S. Army's Fort Lowell, now began to move out to the valleys of Rincon and Tanque Verde Creeks - Well-watered bookends to today's Saguaro National Park.

Pio Pico and Rafael Carrillo Family

Left: Pio Pico at home on Tanque Verde Creek.
Right: Rafael Carrillo Family

Arizona Historical Society

Before the Fort closed in the 1890's, squatters like the legendary Pio Pico had ventured out to the wild woodlands along Tanque Verde Creek. But then sprawling ranches began to form, most famously La Cebedilla the home of Emilio Carrillo, later owned by his son Rafael and still going strong as the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch.

Rincon Valley School

Rincon Valley School

Arizona Historical Society

Along Rincon Creek, Fermin Cruz cultivated 20 acres for family use, selling the excess produce in town. The Cordova family grew "barley, chilis, squash, watermelons, corn, tomatoes, beans, and a little wheat." When the Knipe family consolidated these homesteads into large ranch, families stayed on as ranch hands and vaqueros, and a neighborhood school was built for the children.

Freeman's Adobe Home & Dorothy and Frank

Left: The Freeman Homestead
Right: Dorothy and Frank at the Barbecue

Courtesy of the Freeman Family

Inside today's park boundary, Safford Freeman made good on a claim of 600 acres in 1933. The family's adobe house, open-air kitchen, ocotillo fence corral, and rope-and-bucket well were tucked into a scenic valley surrounded by towering saguaros. In the 1950's the park re-acquired the homestead, and today visitors wander down to walk the home's tile floor and site under the shade tree planted so many years ago.

Did You Know?

Gila Monster

Gila monsters are one of two venomous lizards in the world. The other is the similar Mexican beaded lizard. Gila monster venom evolved as a defensive rather than offensive weapon.