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Contact: Melanie Florez, 520-733-5151
Contact: Richard Hill, 520-733-5158
Saguaro National Park News Release
For Immediate Release
Contacts: Saguaro West - Richard Hill (520) 733-5158, 2700 N. Kinney Rd.
Saguaro East - Melanie Florez (520) 733-5151, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail
Saguaro National Park December Program Schedule
Saguaro National Park is offering a variety of walks and talks that explore the park’s wonderful natural and cultural histories. Program listings also are available on the park’s website, , or visit us on Facebook. Interpretive programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Program schedules are subject to change; visitors should call the visitor centers for updates or reservations.
Naturalist Programs at Tucson Mountain District (West District), 2700 N. Kinney Rd.:
Programs are offered on most days in the morning at 10:15 and/or 11:15, and in the afternoon at 2:15 and/or 3:15 and last 30 to 45 minutes. Topics include mountain lions, lizards, coyotes, javelinas, kangaroo rats, insects, birds, survival strategies, the saguaro cactus, and other topics related to the desert. All programs are subject to change. Call the visitor center at (520) 733-5158 for updates the day of the program.
Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 3:15 p.m. Cooking With Prickly Pear Talk: 30 minutes
Learn how you can incorporate prickly pear into your diet. This program will show you how to collect and prepare prickly pear. Prepare for a sweet treat! Wheelchair accessible
Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27 11:15 a.m. Living With Giants Talk: 45 minutes
The saguaro celebrates events and faces challenges throughout its life. A biologist explains how it provides shelter and substance for wildlife; when it flowers; its growth patterns; and how it fights for survival against drought, lightning, frost, and other dangers. Wheelchair accessible
Dec.1, 8, 22, 29 9:45 a.m. The Plants Tell All Walk: 2 hours, 1½ miles
Plants are the foundation of the web of life. Join a park naturalist to learn the secrets of what ties the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert together. Plant survival, insects and spiders, birds and mammals -- nothing is off limits for discussion on this discovery trek through the desert. For this moderate walk, closed-toed shoes, a hat, and water are required.
Dec. 7, 14, 21 11:15 a.m. Investigation of the 1000 Year Old Rock Art! Walk: 45 minutes, ¼ miles
Become a Rock Art Detective and investigate the who, when, and how mysteries of the 1000 year old Hohokam Petroglyphs.
-Meet at Signal Hill at 11:15 a.m. Plan for 20 minutes of driving time to location from the visitor center
-An optional 1/4 mile hike will follow the program, discussing some of the common plants and animals found here in the desert
Dec. 18 1:45 p.m. Wasson Peak Moonlight Hike: 7 hours, 8 miles roundtrip
This hike climbs 1,700 feet to the highest point in the Tucson Mountains. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the sunset before descending by the light of the moon. The hike is at an easy-to-moderate pace but is considered difficult due to elevation gain and hiking after dark. Ages 12 and older.Reservations required; 733-5158
Dec. 20 3:00 p.m. Sunset Hike 4 hours, 3 ½ miles roundtrip
This hike gains 700 feet with most of the elevation change in switchbacks near the ridgeline, where hikers will watch the sunset before descending under moonlight. Reservations required; 733-5158
Dec. 22 6:15 p.m. Moonrise Over The Mountains Patio program: 45 minutes
Popular guitarist and singer-songwriter Mark William and Native American flute player Robert Hval will play music on the patio as visitors watch the full moon rise over the mountains. Bring a folding chair and blankets or coats. All ages. Wheelchair accessible. No reservations necessary.
Naturalist Programs at the Rincon Mountain District (East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail):
December 5, 12, 19 2:00 p.m. What’s New at Saguaro National Park? Presentation
Saguaro National Park is best known for its variety of cactus, including the giant Saguaro. Join park staff in the visitor center theater to take a look at the Rincon Mountains and the new plant species recently discovered up there. Accessible Program
Join park naturalists for an introduction to astronomy and a look at the desert night sky. Telescopes and binoculars will be available.Reservations are required. Call the Visitor Center at (520) 733-5153.Accessible Program
December 7, 21
Join a park naturalist for this easy two-hour hike to explore and experience the Sonoran Desert at night. Dress for the weather. Comfortable walking shoes, water and a flashlight are recommended. Reservations are required. Call the Visitor Center at (520) 733-5153
December 8, 22, 29
Hop in your car for a journey through 25 million years of earth history…in one hour! We’ll observe the varied landforms of the desert – bajadas, washes, outcrops – and find out why geology students from around the world come to see the Rincon Mountain foothills. (Hint: it’s the mylonitic gneiss!)
December 11, 18
Join a ranger on this 2 hour, 2 mile hike to talk about the history of cattle and land abuse at Saguaro National Park, as well as current and future ecosystem health.
December 14, 28 11:00 a.m. Saguaro Time Hike Guided Hike
What was it like to live in a Cactus Forest? What do people do in this valley today? And what about an uncertain future? Explore all three eras on a short hike to the Loma Verde Copper Mine historic site. Comfortable walking shoes and water are recommended.
December 16, 23, 30 10:00 a.m. The GIANT Cactus Guided Walk
Saguaro National Park is famous for its gigantic saguaros. Still, you have to know where to look to find a real giant among giants. The best way is to join a ranger for a walk along a desert wash for a lesson in trees of the desert and a look at the only tree-like cactus in the U.S. You’ll be surprised by the size! Comfortable walking shoes and water are recommended.
View the Arizona sunset from a perch high in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains, then experience the magic of a walk through the moonlit Cactus Forest. Sturdy hiking shoes, water and a trail supper are recommended. Reservations are required. Call the Visitor Center at (520) 733-51
December 27 5:00 p.m. Holiday Caravan Auto Tour
Explore the natural lore of the solstice holiday on a unique nighttime drive through the park’s loop drive. Auto tours will be offered at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m., and will feature several stops along the 8-mile Cactus Forest Drive. Each tour lasts approximately 1½ hours. Cookies and cider will be offered at the visitor center all evening. Samples of desert food products will also be available for tasting. Reservations are required. Call the Visitor Center at (520) 733-5153. Accessible Program
Both visitor centers are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Christmas Day.
Red Hills Visitor Center (Saguaro WEST)
2700 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743
Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (Saguaro EAST)
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730