Outbound Collective logo

Drive the Scenic Loop in Saguaro National Park East (Cactus Forest)

3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Arizona

4.7/5
based on 3 reviews

Details

Distance

8 miles

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Laura Hill

This is the perfect way to see these ancient giants up close!

The Cactus Forest scenic drive is one of two scenic drives in Saguaro National Park (the other is in the West district location).  The drive in Saguaro National Park East is a paved eight-mile one way loop that runs through the heart of an extensive saguaro forest.  If you’re lucky enough to visit during the blooming season, you’re in for a treat!  Wildflower season is also spectacular.  Not to mention the one time it received snowfall! 

Most of the parks picnic areas (which have waterless toilets, grills, picnic tables and trash cans) are accessible from the drive.  Just make sure to pick an appropriate spot to pull off the road, as you don’t want cars coming up behind you!

There is a visitor center, as well as many hiking trails where you can get up close and personal with these spiky beasts.  Truly a wonderful way to experience a wide variety of desert flora and fauna.

Make sure to contact the visitor center before you go, to see what (if any) restrictions are in place.

Phone Number: (520) 733-5153

GPS: 32° 17' 48.2568'' N,111° 9' 59.8248'' W

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app

Features

Cycling
Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
ADA Accessible

Reviews

I'm from Phoenix, and this drive even impressed me with the number of saguaro cacti everywhere. It's even better if you can get out and do a hike, but the drive itself still gives you a decent idea of how much character the various saguaro cacti have in such large numbers

This is an easy way to see the park. There are Saguaro's everywhere. Great for visitors not from the area.

This is a great way to see the park, but note that there are two different entrances (east and west)! My mom and I paired this with a trip to Under Canvas and a trip to Chiricahua National Monument. Great way to see this National Park!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Drive the Cactus Forest Loop in Saguaro's Rincon Mountain District

Hike to Javelina Rock

Tanque Verde Falls

Seven Falls via Bear Canyon

Hike Blackette's Ridge

Hike the Sabino Canyon Trail