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Contact: Melanie Florez, 520 733-5153
Contact: Richard Hill, 520 733-5158
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, unless noted otherwise. Topics include mountain lions, lizards, coyotes, roadrunners, javelinas, kangaroo rats, insects, flowers, birds, plant and animal survival strategies, and the saguaro cactus.
All programs are subject to change. Call the visitor center at (520) 733-5158 for updates the day of the program.
December 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 10:15 a.m. Play Sonoran Desert Bingo! Game: 30 minutes
Learn about the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert while enjoying a rousing version of Bingo! Get five in a row – down, across, or diagonally – and win a non-monetary prize. Wheelchair accessible.
December 5, 19 9:45 a.m. Bird Walk 30 minutes plus optional additional 30 minutes, ½ mile
Join us for a 30-minute walk in the sandy wash behind the Visitor Center to see what birds live among the cacti and shrubs. Learn how they find food, water and shelter. Participants interested in more will drive 2 miles to Sus Picnic area with its rocky canyon and hills for another 30-minute walk to see what wrens, hawks and other birds live there. The walk is on sand and dirt roads. No reservations required. All ages are invited.
December 3, 10, 24, 31 9:45 a.m. The Plants Tell All Hike: 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.
December 9 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
December 10 3:45 p.m. Twilight Glow to Moon Shadows Moonlight Hike: 3 hours, 2 ½ miles
This walk bridges sunset into moonlight, letting hikers experience the desert in both the glow of twilight and the light of the waxing moon. The trail ascends a hill with a gentle, packed slope, and then descends a sandy wash. The hike is completed with a return on a dirt road. Ages 10 and older. Reservations required: 733-5158.
December 13 6:00 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.
December 2, 5, 7, 12, 13, 16, 23, 26, 27, 28 11:15 a.m. Spiny, Shady, and COOL! Walk: 30 mins, 100 yards
Come for a short walk and discover the great variety of cacti that inhabit this unique and fascinating desert.
Naturalist Programs at the Rincon Mountain District (East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail):
December 1, 8, 22 2:00 p.m. The 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.
December 1 7:00 p.m. Star Party illustrated Program & Activity
Join park naturalists for an introduction to astronomy and a look at the desert night sky. Telescopes and binoculars will be available. Reservations required. Call 733-5153. Wheelchair accessible.
December 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 10:00 a.m. Parents & Tots Walk Guided Walk
Bring your infant or toddler on this easy, ranger-guided walk as we explore the sights and sounds of the Sonoran Desert. Toddler backpacks are available for loan if you don’t have your own. Space is limited, so please call the visitor center at (520( 733-5153 to make a reservation.
December 3, 10, 17 4:15 p.m. Sunset Stroll Guided Hike
Join a park guide to take a short hike up to a rocky overlook of the Tucson Basin. Nature will determine how good the sunset is, but bring your camera just in case it’s a famous Arizona sundown!
December 6, 13, 20 11:00 a.m. History of the Rincons Guided Hike
Take a stroll down the Hope Camp Trail and learn about the homesteaders and ranchers who settled here, as well as other aspects of the Rincon and Tanque Verde Valleys. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and a trail snack. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.
December 7, 14, 21 10:00 a.m. The Destruction of Granite: A Trip to the Fault Guided Hike
Join a ranger on a guided auto tour and hike inside the loop drive at Saguaro National Pak. We will discuss the geological history of the park as well as southeastern Arizona. The hike portion will be 5 miles round trip. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring water and a trail snack. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.
December 9 & 23 7:00 p.m. Night Walk 1 mile guided walk
Join a park naturalist for this easy two-hour hike to explore and experience the Sonoran Desert at night. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring water and a flashlight. As space is limited, advanced reservations are required, and can be made by calling (520) 733-5153.
December 29 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. As space is limited, advanced reservations are required, and can be made by calling 733-5153. Wheelchair accessible.
Both visitor centers are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Christmas Day.
Red Hills Visitor Center Rincon Mountain Visitor Center
(Saguaro WEST) (Saguaro EAST)
2700 North Kinney Road 3693 South Old Spanish Trail Tucson, AZ 85743 Tucson, AZ 85730
(520) 733-5158 (520) 733-5153
For more information about Saguaro National Park and some of its partners, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Western National Parks Association, and the Rincon Institute, visit these websites: