saguaro national park east or west

This loop drive is shorter than the one above and feels less developed. [40], The lands that eventually would become Saguaro National Park remained relatively free of development until the mid-19th century, after Arizona had become part of the United States.

Note that there is no running water or toilet facilities at Mica View. [40][49] Modified and restored after falling into disrepair, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. [38], The earliest known residents of the land in and around what later became Saguaro National Park were the Hohokam, who lived there in villages between 200 and 1450 A.D. Petroglyphs and bits of broken pottery are among Hohokam artifacts found in the park.
Most of all, we value quiet, solitude, and views. The West area actually has more picnic areas (five) versus the East (two). [75], The Rincons and the nearby Santa Catalinas (but not the shorter Tucson Mountains) are among about 40 mountain ranges known as the Madrean Sky Islands that are of special interest to biologists. Saguaro National Park protects 91,400 acres of Arizona desert. Your email address will not be published. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. [22] Smaller riparian zones are found near springs and tinajas in the Rincon Mountain District. Plus, you'll be able to squeeze in a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. So you can find vegetation like oak, pine, and mixed conifer forest and even encounter wildlife like coati, black bears, and spotted owls in the East. [46] Mining of igneous rock at 149 sites in the Tucson Mountain District sometimes produced ores of modest value in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [82], The Tucson Mountain District has 12 miles (19 km) of paved roads and 8.5 miles (13.7 km) of unpaved roads,[83] including the 5-mile (8 km) Bajada Loop Drive.

The park is divided into two districts: one that lies about 20 miles east of the center of Tucson, and another that lies about 15 miles west of Tucson. Both districts have visitor centers. Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day (more if the temperatures are high). [69] Among the park's 107 bird species[60] are great horned owls, cactus wrens, ravens, kestrels, turkey vultures, roadrunners, woodpeckers, hawks, quails, and hummingbirds,[70] and one threatened species, the Mexican spotted owl. To obtain a special use permit, print an application form from the park's website. The West District is also close to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson — two very popular attractions for visitors. [12] Their total combined area in 2016 was 91,716 acres (37,116 ha). Several spots to hike. The Rincon Mountain District has few roads, but Picture Rocks Road, an east–west commuter highway crossing the Tucson Mountain District, is highly dangerous to wildlife. I enjoyed the drive into the West district more, as I found it much more scenic and more remote. [76] These ranges, resembling a series of stepping stones between the southern end of the Rocky Mountains—specifically the Mogollon Rim of the Colorado Plateau—in the United States and the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, are continental "islands" separated from one another by "seas" of lower-elevation valleys that impede but do not completely block species migration from one sky island to another. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Plant Hardiness zone at Red Hills Visitor Center 2,553 feet (778 m) is 9b with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of 25.8 °F (−3.4 °C), and 9a with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of 23.4 °F (−4.8 °C) at Rincon Mountain Visitor Center 3,091 feet (942 m). Both the East and West district both have scenic loop drives but there are some big differences.

One of the biggest If you only have a day or two at Saguaro National Park but can't decide whether to visit the East or West side, … Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. [24], On a 40-acre (16 ha) plot adjacent to the Rincon Mountain District along Broadway, the Desert Research Learning Center (DRLC) supports scientific and educational projects related to a network of Sonoran Desert parks, including Saguaro National Park. [71], The park's 36 reptile species[60] include desert tortoises, diamondback rattlesnakes (one of the more commonly seen snakes), coral snakes, Gila monsters, short-horned lizards, spiny lizards, and zebra-tailed lizards. The volcanic rocks on the surface of the Tucson Mountain District differ greatly from the surface rocks of the Rincon Mountain District; over the past 30 million years, crustal stretching displaced rocks from beneath the Tucson Mountains of the Tucson Mountain District to form the Rincon Mountains of the Rincon Mountain District. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson.

In 1928 Homer L. Shantz, a plant scientist and the university's president, joined the efforts to create a saguaro sanctuary,[51] but issues related to funding and management delayed the creation of a park. The Loop Drive of the West District (Bajada Loop Drive) is on a five-mile graded dirt road and is mostly one-way. The Tucson Mountain District (WEST) Visitor Center is located at 2700 N. Kinney Rd and is approximately 15 miles west of the center of the … Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Congress later elevated Saguaro to National Park status on October 14, 1994. [25], Brief violent summer rains are usually accompanied by lightning, dust storms and flash floods. I’m not sure why that is but if you know drop a note in the comments below. [31] The future park land had six lime kilns, two in the Tucson Mountain District, and four in the Rincon Mountain District. [86], Among the notable artificial structures in the Tucson Mountain District are ramadas, picnic tables, and restrooms built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1933 and 1941. Both are pretty spectacular. [21] Rincon Creek in the southern part of the Rincon Mountain District, free-flowing for at least part of the year, has the largest riparian zone in the park. Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections called districts.

But it’s a highly subjective decision, and both districts are beautiful and worth visiting if you have the time.

That said, you can still enjoy Saguaro National Park in the summer if you go in the wee hours of the morning.

Theresa and I both significantly favored the west over the east. [51], In 1961 President John F. Kennedy—encouraged by Stewart Udall, an Arizonan who was then Secretary of the Interior—added 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) of cactus lands in the Tucson Mountains to the monument. Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation's largest cacti. The DRLC grounds, which include desert plants, an artificial tinaja, and a rainwater collection system, are open to the public. Both districts allow bicycling and horseback riding on selected roads and trails. Pete, Your email address will not be published. If you are just passing through and/or have never been to Arizona, we recommend Saguaro National Park WEST due to the fact that it has a larger "population" of saguaro cacti. [1] The Tucson Mountain District covers about 25,000 acres (10,000 ha),[13] while the much larger Rincon Mountain District accounts for the balance of about 67,000 acres (27,000 ha). [67] One endangered mammal, the lesser long-nosed bat, lives part of the year in the park and part of the year in Mexico. The intent of TucsonTopia is to provide ideas for family-friendly activities, events, and resources. [34] The Catalina Fault, a low-angle detachment fault, began to form about 30 million years ago about 6 to 8 miles (10 to 13 km) below the surface of the Tucson Mountains. After passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, the arrival of the railroad in 1880, and the end of the Apache Wars in 1886, homesteaders and ranchers established themselves in the Tucson and Rincon Mountains, and miners sought silver, copper, and other valuable ores and minerals. [19] Elevations within the Rincon Mountain District vary from 2,670 to 8,666 feet (814 to 2,641 m)[4] at the summit of Mica Mountain. Their other projects involved road- and trail-building, landscaping, erosion control, and enhancing water supplies for wildlife. Their supplies are brought in by pack mules that are kept in corrals at the site. [24], According to the Köppen climate classification system, Saguaro National Park has a Hot semi-arid climate (BSh).

There are no overnight accommodations for recreational vehicles in the park. [37] The rocks under the fault, the lower-plate rocks, were eventually displaced 16 to 22 miles (26 to 35 km) east-northeast relative to the rocks above the fault, then uplifted, domed, and eroded to form the Santa Catalina and Rincon mountains visible today. [21] In 1775, the Spaniards built Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón, a military fort in what was then part of New Spain,[43] in part to protect against raids by Apaches. [39] The Hohokam hunted deer and other animals, gathered cholla buds, prickly pears, palo verde pods, and saguaro fruit, and grew corn, beans, and squash. [48] Manning Cabin, built in 1905 as a summer retreat for Levi Manning, a wealthy businessman and one-term mayor of Tucson, is part of the infrastructure at Manning Camp near Mica Mountain. So if you are into the picnic seen, then you might want to look into the West for more options. [7] The name Tucson derives from Papago-Piman words cuk ṣon [ˡtʃukʂɔn], meaning dark spring or brown spring. Most of the campgrounds are above 6,000 feet so they offer different vegetation and cooler climates to campers and hikers (all camp sites are not accessible by vehicles and must be hiked to).

Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections called districts. Why was Saguaro National Park created? [73] Forest fires, which create erosion-prone burned areas, have destroyed many of the leopard frog's breeding pools, which fill with sediment. The park was first created to protect and preserve the giant saguaro - North America's largest cactus (plus, many other kinds of cactus - including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear). Explosive volcanic eruptions formed the Tucson Mountains about 70 million years ago,[34] and the roof of the volcano at their center collapsed to form a caldera 12 miles (19 km) across. Overall, both scenic drives are worth doing because they each have a little bit of something different to offer.

[88], The Rincon Mountain District features the 8.3-mile (13.4 km) Cactus Forest Loop Drive, which provides access to some of the trails.

Restrooms with running water and mirrors are available at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center between 9:00am and 5:00pm; a pit toilet is available at both the Javelina and Mica View picnic areas. That said, ANY time of day is a good time to be outdoors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as you can quickly get to some nice restaurants like Saguaro Corners and enjoy a nice juicy burger or delicious Mac-n-cheese. The first arm of a saguaro typically appears when the cactus is between 50 and 70 years old though it may be closer to 100 years in places where precipitation is very low. [72] Despite the aridity, three amphibian species inhabit the park:[60] the canyon tree frog, the lowland leopard frog, and Couch's spadefoot, which lives in burrows, emerging to breed during summer rains. Parking is free and conveniently located next to the picnic sites, most of which are shaded. In this article, I will give you a detailed comparison between the two Saguaro National Park districts and highlight some of the strong points of each park. Each parcel comes within about 10 miles (16 km) of the center of the city. [49] Cultural resources in the park include more than 450 archeological sites and more than 60 historic structures.
If you can plan to arrive on foot or by bicycle, you can purchase an individual permit for $10. [47] The most successful, the Copper King Mine (later renamed the Mile Wide Mine), yielded 34,000 tons of copper, gold, lead, zinc, and molybdenum ores, mostly during the war years of 1917, 1918, and 1941; it closed permanently in 1942 when it became unprofitable.

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