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YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Saguaro National Park

It’s the iconic image of the American Southwest: The giant saguaro cactus, standing tall amid the arid desert, arms perpetually raised to the sky.

Avid movie watchers probably expect to see saguaro cacti scattered everywhere from west Texas to the California coast. In fact, this subtropical plant thrives only in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona.

At Saguaro National Park, you can see more than 1.6 million giant saguaro—the largest forest of its kind on the planet.

The park is divided into two sections. The Tucson Mountain District spreads across desert scrub and desert grasslands, where you may see Gambel’s quail, desert tortoise, and even coyote. Hike to the Valley View Overlook for a terrific view of the mountains.

The Rincon Mountain District, on the other side of Tucson about an hour’s drive away, reaches elevations over 8,500 feet. Here, the landscape changes from desert to woodland, with pine and conifer forests climbing the hillsides.

Drive or bike the Cactus Forest Loop or hike the Freeman Homestead Trail. The cooler temperatures within the evergreens provide habitat for black bear, spotted owl, and white-tailed deer.

If you can, visit Saguaro National Park in spring to see the wildflowers, or in summer, before and after it rains. Many desert plants fall dormant and brown during dry spells, and then burst to green life after a rain.

Did you know: 

The giant saguaro is one of the slowest-growing plants on earth. It can take eight years for the cactus to grow just 1 inch.

Read More in NPCA's Park Advocate Blog

The 8,000-Year Park

Saguaro cacti in Saguaro National Park, Arizona.The first time I visited Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, it literally expanded my world. You can sign NPCA’s petition for stricter air-quality standards near national parks–8,000 years is too long to wait! I was 27 then, and I’d spent my whole life on the East Coast, surrounded by tall buildings, crowded roads, and […]

Friday Photo: Four Tons of Buffelgrass No Match for Hard-Working Volunteers

Volunteers pull more than four tons of invasive plants from Saguaro National Park.Last weekend, thousands of people around the country turned out to participate in National Public Lands Day, including about 60 volunteers who helped pull an invasive plant known as buffelgrass from areas around Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. It was a hot day. Soaring temperatures meant we had to start early in the morning and quit around 11 a.m.–but […]

BioBlitz at Saguaro National Park: Bats, Rodents, and New Perspectives

BioBlitz2-featuredToday’s guest blog was written by Allie Gaither-Banchoff, an eighth-grade student at Paulo Freire Freedom School who took part in the 2011 Saguaro National Park BioBlitz. The BioBlitz was organized by the National Geographic Society and Friends of Saguaro National Park. More than 5,000 students and volunteers combed the park, resulting in the park listing […]
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