Cactus Forest Loop Road CLOSURE
The Cactus Forest Loop Road in Saguaro National Park Rincon Mountain District (east) will be closed March 10th and 11th from 5am to 8am. The Visitor Center Parking Lot will also be closed on March 11th from 5am to 8am for road striping. More »
Construction on roads in Tucson Mountain District may cause delays up to 30 mins
Starting February 3rd, work will begin to improve safety features along Picture Rocks Road, Sandario Road and Kinney Road. Work may cause delays up to 30 minutes and the work is scheduled to continue into March. More »
Faxing Backcountry Permits
Due to fax machine issues, please fax backcountry permits to this alternate number until further notice: (520) 733-5183. Any faxes sent after Thursday March 6, please resend. More »
Why saguaros have pleats
Because the majority of a saguaro is made up of water, an adult plant may weigh 6 tons or more. This tremendous weight is supported by a circular skeleton of inter-connected, woody ribs. The number of ribs inside the plant correspond to the number of pleats on the outside of the plant. As the saguaro grows, the ribs will occasionally fork and the corresponding pleat will also fork at the same place.
Sometimes saguaros have the chance to soak up a larger than usual amount of water - such as after a large summer rainstorm. The ground can become very soft after such a storm and with the added weight of the new water, the heavy cactus sometimes fall over or lose an arm.
Layers of a saguaro:
epidermis (green part)
cortex or pulp
ribs (with corresponding pleat on surface)
pith (inside the ribs)
Did You Know?
Saguaro National Park is more than just a desert park. In fact, the highest point in the eastern district is Mica Mountain at 8,666 ft. There you will find a dense forest of Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, alligator-bark juniper, and aspen.