Frequently Asked Questions

Towering Saguaro
A towering saguaro is silhouetted against the summer sun.

John Williams, Park Ranger

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

Q. Where is the tallest saguaro?
A.
The tallest saguaro ever recorded was 78 ft tall but fell down in 1986. Currently, a saguaro in Scottsdale, Az holds the title at 53 ft tall. At the park, there is no specific saguaro recognized as the tallest in the area.

Q. Can I drink water from a cactus?
A.
Most species of cacti have potentially toxic levels of oxalic acid, toxic alkaloids, and other substances that cause diarrhea and/or vomiting.

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?
A.
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. more

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

Q. Can I make a reservation for one of your picnic areas?
A.
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?
A.
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 $50 (minimum) for all recreational special use permits.
For more information about permits, visit our Permits and Reservations page (https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm)

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

East West
Acreage: 66,947 Acreage: 24,498
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: 1950's Opened: 1994
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?
A.
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 and move towards the opposite location, always staying on the path.

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

Q. Where is a trail that is handicap accessible?
A.
East District: Desert Ecology Trail
West District: Desert Discovery Trail
For more information: http://cms.nps.doi.net/sagu/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

Q. Do you have WiFi?
A. No, neither district has WiFi and cell coverage does fluctuate due to being outside the city limits.

Q. What do I do if I see suspicious activity or a resource crime?
A. Call the Federal Law Enforcement Dispatch Center at 1-800-637-9152 and press 2 when prompted for a number/extension.

 

Last updated: February 12, 2018

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Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson , AZ 85730

Phone:

(520) 733-5153

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