• Nature and Science

    Nature and Science

    See how science and nature work as one and learn about the Sonoran Desert in which our park resides in.

  • Desert Tinaja

    Water Curriculum

    Explore how water is an important part of Saguaro National Park

  • Animals


    Learn more about the park's residents including amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles.

  • Saguaro flower and bee


    Find a working plant list for the park as well as interactive keys to help identify plants at both park districts.

  • Research


    History of research conducted in the park including Historic Section 17, and long-term saguaro monitoring.

  • Explore current and future impacts of climate change
    The temperature is rising!

    Climate Change at Saguaro

    Learn about the impacts of decreasing winter precipitation and snow, increased spring drought, and increased monsoon & tropical activity

  • Resource Briefs

    Resource Briefs

    A collection of resource briefs sharing research results of a variety of topics.

  • Air Quality

    Air Quality

    Learn about the park's air quality and how you can help protect it and your health.

Desert view in front of mountains
Tanque Verde Ridge from the Loma Verde Trail

NPS photo/L. Bolyard

Saguaro National Park is composed of two distinct districts: The Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. The Tucson Mountain District lies on the west side of Tucson, Arizona, while the Rincon Mountain District lies on the east side of Tucson. Both districts were formed to protect and exhibit forests of their namesake plant: the Saguaro Cactus.

Most people think of Saguaro National Park as being a desert park. True, the lower elevations of the park encompass Sonoran Desert Vegetation, but there is much more to Saguaro National Park than just cacti.

The Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,180 ft to 4,687 ft and contains 2 biotic communities, desert scrub, and desert grassland. Average annual precipitation is approximately 10.27 in. Common wildlife include the coyote, Gambel’s quail, and desert tortoise.

The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,670 ft to 8,666 ft and contains 6 biotic communities. The biotic communities (starting from the lowest elevation) include desert scrub, desert grassland, oak woodland, pine-oak woodland, pine forest and mixed conifer forest. Average annual precipitation is approximately 12.30 in. The Rincon Mountains peak at a considerably higher elevation than the Tucson Mountains, therefore there are more biotic communities and increased plant and wildlife diversity. Because of the higher elevation in the Rincons, animals like the black bear, Mexican spotted owl, Arizona mountain king snake, and white-tailed deer live in this district.

Check out the vast biodiversity found here at Saguaro National Park and the surrounding Tucson basin during the 2016 Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service.


Last updated: June 20, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

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