JTH Tucson grounds with epic views of Saguaro National Park

October 19, 2022

Visiting Saguaro National Park and Tucson, Arizona

Thanks for being here! I’m Sarah & I’m the Creative behind SALTY LUXE. I hope these words inspire you to live your best life & see the beauty in every day. And I hope you never stop searching for a life of infinite happiness. Stay Salty, Sarah xxx

Salty Luxe.





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Tucson is a trendy, Mexican-infused town that lies in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, surrounded by the giant Saguaro cactus. In this Travel Guide we’ll share our travel tips for Tucson and how to best see the Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona, including the best time to visit Saguaro National Park, the hiking trails we did and the best road side stops for viewing the famous Saguaro Cacti.

You can check out more from our Southwest USA road trip.

A landscape of cactus and dry brush stretching into the distance with mountains in the background at Tucson Saguaro National Park
The Saguaro Cacti in the Saguaro National Park

How to get to Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is located just outside the city of Tucson, Arizona in the Tucson Mountain District. So the easiest way to get to the park is to travel to Tucson and base yourself there.

Tucson lies in the southern part of Arizona, in the United States, just an hour away from the Mexican border. As part of our road trip around the Southwest, we drove 6 hours from Joshua Tree to get to Tucson.

Otherwise you can take a flight arriving into Tucson itself, or to the state capital of Phoenix (only 1.5 hours drive away). Just remember to grab a hire car as you’ll need the freedom and flexibility to explore the region.

Where to stay in Tucson

We stayed at The JTH Tucson – a boutique, five suite Posada bordering the amazing Saguaro National Park. The creators Sara & Rich have curated the ultimate retreat, each room home to thoughtful treasures to invoke your inner wanderlust.

At its heart is the desire to help you reconnect with nature, slow down & leave inspired! We loved lounging in the refreshing canyon pool, soaking in the hot spring & relaxing in the many common spaces (our fav was the rooftop terrace with 360 degree views of the National Park).

Some of our best photos taken from Tucson were actually wandering around the grounds of JTH Tucson, it’s that beautiful. Early morning strolls with a local coffee was delightful and the colours at sunset are mind blowing!

Tip: The Posada is hugely popular & due to its boutique size you’ll want to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Also to note, The JT House originated in Joshua Tree and we loved their property here just as much!

Book your stay at JTH Tucson here.

A man and a woman embracing in the Saguaro National Park with epic views surrounded by desert and giant cacti
JTH Tucson grounds

While in Tucson we also stayed at Desert Vibrations, a retro themed hacienda on the other side of town. This stay has a cozy feel and refreshing pool, and the lovely owners even organised us a surprise sunset horseback riding far us. We loved this experience, so don’t miss this!

Book your stay at Desert Vibrations here.

What to do in Tucson: Visiting Saguaro National Park

When is the best time to visit Saguaro National Park?

Being in the desert, daytime temperatures can be dangerously hot. We recommend avoiding the summer months and instead visiting in the shoulder seasons between late April-May and September-October. Winter months can be an ideal time to hike too, although there is still snow in some places.

Be aware that June-September is monsoon season and the mountainsides and canyons can be liable to flash floods.

The cactus of Saguaro National Park is the main reason why we made the trip out here. So our biggest recommendation is to explore the national park, especially at sunset during late fall or early spring. 

The soft lighting gives for breathtaking scenes across the endless desert landscape. And seeing the silhouettes of America’s largest cactus against a blazing sunset is something you’ll want to see more than once!

Where is the best place to see Saguaro Cacti?

Really anywhere that’s safe to pull over will give you epic views. So take your car and drive around, stopping wherever grabs your attention – we found some of the rest stops and picnic areas had just as epic views as the hiking trails.

TIP: We found Saguaro National Park west to be the best place for saguaro viewing, so definitely head here first!

Sarah surrounded by cacti at sunset in Saguaro National Park desert
Sunset in Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park Hikes and Scenic Drives

You can also explore the hiking trails through Saguaro National Park. We took an early hike one morning to beat the sun and get up on the peak of the Western mountains. We were rewarded with sweeping views across the surrounding desert.

Though we honestly found the best saguaro cactus viewing to be at the base of the mountains and not very far from the roads. The Manville Trail and trails around the Red Hills Visitor Center (both in the West side of the Park) were amazing short hike options!

Find all the Saguaro National Park hiking trails on the National Park Service website and check the trail details and conditional before heading out.

The Bajada Loop Drive is one of the most scenic drives in the area and also gives you great access to some of the parks best hikes, as well as offering a chill way to see a lot of the national park from your vehicle.

TIP: Remember to take lots of water on hiking trails!

Where to eat in Tucson

The Tucson area has a massive Mexican influence when it comes to food. Luckily this is our favourite cuisine! Our favourite places to eat during our Saguaro Park visit were Penca for delicious and stylish Mexican dining, and Seis Kitchen for cheaper but equally tasty Mexican.

And if you’re coffee addicts like us, try Exo Roast Co in downtown Tucson for a great brew in a quiet, trendy little coffee shop.

I hope you love Tucson and Saguaro National Park as much as we did!

If you found this Saguaro National Park guide useful, you can check out our other blogs here including our full Southwest USA road trip itinerary and our favourite Southwest USA national parks.

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Pinnable image of Sarah riding a horse in the desert at sunset with text that reads The Ultimate Tucson Travel Guide

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