Hiking Arizona’s Saguaro National Park East

When hiking in Arizona, one cannot help but notice how varied the landscapes are in this state. On this day we chose to hike in the Rincon Mountain area, one of the 5 mountain ranges surrounding Tucson Arizona. An easy ten mile drive brings us to Saguaro National Park East off Speedway Road. Our plan was to combine some trails and loop around for a 4 – 5 mile hike. 

A good portion of the hike was in washes and on horse trails. Wildflowers were starting to bloom, Saguaro cacti were numerous and birds were seen every so often. It was sunny day with a constant breeze and blue sky. We followed our plan with a map and were happy to see good signage at the various trail intersections. Our only challenge came toward the end of the hike when the exit was to walk through a wash. This wash actually had a few inches of water in it! We made no plan for water crossings or wading through water so we made a slight change in our plan, and walked another trail out. Great hiking day …. 5.5 miles in just under 3 hours. 

Here are some photos from the day:

Wild Horse Trail did have some people riding horses on it!

Saguaro cacti are throughout the park; however, to see a “crested” or “cristate” saguaro is rare since there are only about 2,000 crested saguaros in the Sonoran Desert region … growing in this national park in an isolated and rugged area.

Crested Saguaro cactus

We could not help but notice remaining effects of the power of water. This cliffside has been swept aside after many seasons of water flow and we can see tree roots hanging on. Some trails were also like trenches due to water erosion and the horses and people who have traveled the trail for hundreds of years.

Very worn trail!

The landscape is beautiful:

Fairy duster plant
Ocotillo plant … don’t plan to grab this plant if you are falling!
Many Saguaro cacti in this area

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