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

3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Arizona

based on 4 reviews



8 miles

Route Type



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

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Picnic Area
ADA Accessible

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

Did this drive. Stopped for a loop hike and to check out Javelina Rocks. Very scenic great views of the cacti

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!


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