Frequently Asked Questions

The image depicts a prickly pear cactus with multiple spiny paddles. The paddle in focus is heart-shaped and backgrounded by a blue sky with many clouds.
While the cacti in the park may look loving, please adore them without touching!

NPS photo/TWiewel

Q. How do you pronounce saguaro?
Sa - WAH - ro

Q. Where is the tallest saguaro?
The tallest saguaro ever recorded was 78 ft tall but fell down in 1986. At the park, there is no specific saguaro recognized as the tallest in the area. If you are looking for tall Saguaros, check out the Loma Verde loop in the East District of the park.

Q. Are cactus spines poisonous?
A. No, cactus spines are not poisonous, nor venomous, but puncture sites can become infected just like any other kind of wound. Take caution with what you touch!

Q. How do saguaros grow?
Saguaros are a very slow growing cactus. In Saguaro National Park, studies indicate that a saguaro grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life.

Q. When is the saguaro's flowering season?
Late April through June.

Q. Can I make a reservation for one of your picnic areas?
No, reservations are not taken for picnic areas in Saguaro National Park. They are first come, first served.

Q. What uses require a special use permit?

1. Weddings
2. Picnicking in groups of 20 or more persons
3. Religious Retreats
4. Dispersal of human remains

A special use permit must be filled out and submitted to the park in advance of the actual date requested. There is a permit processing fee of $100 (minimum) for all recreational special use permits.
For more information about permits, visit our permits and reservations page.


Q. How do the east and west sides of Saguaro National Park differ?

East West
Acreage: 67,476 Acreage: 25,391
Picnic Areas: 2 Picnic Areas: 5
Loop Drive: 8 miles, paved Loop Drive: 5 miles, gravel
Camping: 6 backcountry sites Camping: None
128 miles of hiking trails 43 miles of hiking trails
Highest Point: Mica Mt 8,666 ft ^2 Highest Point: Wasson Peak 4,687 ft ^2
Opened: 1933 Opened: 1961
Older saguaro forest, higher elevations including scrub/desert grassland, oak/pine-oak woodland, pine/mixed
conifer forest.
Higher saguaro density, younger saguaro forest, and lower elevation including scrub and desert grassland.

Q. Do I have to worry about snakes?
As long as you keep your hands and feet in sight at all times and keep awareness about your surroundings, you will be fine. If you hear a rattle, stop moving and identify the direction it is coming from. Move toward the opposite direction, always staying on the path.

Q. Why aren't horses and dogs allowed on some of the trails?
Dogs are considered predators by wildlife, causing wildlife to vacate the area or frequent it less often. Horses can damage natural resources (which could also be dangerous for the horse itself), and some trails are not specifically maintained for horse traffic. Learn more information about pets in the park.

Q. Which trails are accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act?
East District: Desert Ecology Trail and Mica View Trail
West District: Desert Discovery Trail
Learn more about accessibility in the park.

Q. Do you have Wi-Fi?
A. Both the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (east district) and the Red Hills Visitor Center (west district) have public Wi-Fi, but cell coverage throughout the park will be spotty.

Q. What do I do if I see suspicious activity or a resource crime?
A. Call Park Dispatch at (520) 351-4900

Have any other questions? Contact us.

the sun sets behind a handful of saguaros
The Saguaro Cactus

Learn about our giant cactus, the majestic saguaro!

Last updated: May 3, 2024

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Contact Info

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3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

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