Outdoors with Pets
For the protection of your animal, visitors, and Saguaro National Park, pets are allowed only on roadways, picnic areas (except Mam-A-Gah picnic area in the Tucson Mountain District-west) and paved trails (Desert Ecology Trail & Desert Discovery Trail). Pets must be kept on a leash that does not exceed 6 feet at all times. Pets may not be taken on trails, off road, or inside both visitor centers. Pets may not be left unattended in or outside of a vehicle at any time.
Many threats exist within the park: cactus spines, thorny brush, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and open mine shafts. Heat stroke has lead to death of otherwise healthy animals in the desert. Burned paws from hot desert sands are common injuries, especially to unacclimatized canines. Dogs in unfamiliar surroundings may not drink water even if offered. Pay close attention to paws and noses and ensure they are not exploring in bushes or around rocks at the edges of the roads. This is where they may come in contact with one of the many desert hazards.
Consideration of Other Trail Users
In areas where dogs are allowed on the trail please be responsible and pack out any waste your pooch may leave behind. Bicyclists are common in Saguaro National Park and may not be prepared for dogs off leash, so dogs, please keep your humans on a 6-foot leash at all times.
Impacts on Wildlife
Native animals can be displaced and disturbed by the scent of dogs, and dogs are often perceived as predators. Also, members of the Canidae family, such as coyotes and foxes, can catch common pet diseases such as parvo. This translation of disease is not one-way, though. Just as our wildlife may be affected by your pets, your pets can catch diseases from our animals, too. Diseases pass in both directions, so it is important that you abide by the park's pet rules at all times to ensure the health of all of our beloved animals.
Service Animals are exempt from these rules and may go anywhere their owners are permitted to go. Please note that this does not include comfort animals; rather, only animals serving a vital life function.
Dog Walks In Saguaro National Park
Rincon Mountain District (East)
Mica View Dirt Road is a route that you can start at the picnic area or scenic loop drive turn-off. This round-trip of 1.5 miles provides a trail-like experinece through a lush cactus landscape for you and your pet.
Desert Ecology trail is a paved, 1/4 mile trail, which is also dog-friendly.
Cactus Forest Loop Road is the scenic loop drive around the east district of the park that is paved and dog-friendly. A great area to try is the stretch from North Cactus Forest trailhead to Loma Verde trailhead. This route is less strenuous and has good sight distances for the safety of you and cyclists / motorists.
Tucson Mountain District (West)
Bajada Loop Drive is the unpaved scenic drive around the west district of the park. It is dog-friendly and a beautiful way to experience the cactus forest.
Since the paved roads in the west district (along and around Kinney Rd.) are heavily used by commuters, it is not recommended to walk those routes.
Last updated: June 21, 2023