Visit to Saguaro National Park

My wife Anne has wanted to photograph the huge Saguaro Cactus for a while now. Since we love the National Parks we decided to head on over to Tucson and make a visit to Saguaro National Park for the first time. There are no campgrounds in the park for a rig our size but we did find a nice county park nearby called Gilbert Rey Campground in Tucson Mountain park. The park is located just a few miles from Saguaro National Park West. Perfect! The Gilbert Rey Campground was nestled in among the giant Saguaro cactus with nice views of the surrounding hills. It’s a picturesque little place with 30 amp electric, RV dump station and fresh water fill. The price is very reasonable at $20 a night. We were just able to squeeze our 30 ft. fifth wheel trailer in. This is a big reason we kept to a 30 ft size. We can visit gems like this place.

Camped at Gilbert Rey Campground, Tucson Mountain Park

Camped at Gilbert Rey Campground, Tucson Mountain Park

Campsite view at Gilbert Rey Campground, Tuscson Mountain Park

Campsite view at Gilbert Rey Campground, Tuscson Mountain Park

The visitor center at the Saguaro National Park was quite helpful, especially the rangers who gave us the low down on all the park had to offer.

Tucson, Arizona is home to North America’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. 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. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset.

I was really amazed at the size of some of the Saguaro, I knew they were big but until you see them up close you have no idea. Some are as big as a 4 story building and weigh in at 7 tons!  Also amazing is they can live up to 200 hundred years.

Ray with his Saguaro friends

Ray with his Saguaro friends

These Saguaro are big!

These Saguaro are big!

On advice of a ranger we did a short hike out too a view-point which looks out on the valley to the east of Tucson. It was a fairly easy hike through some of the most dense Saguaro growth in the park.  Along with the big Saguaro there were many other types of cactus and desert plants to admire.  This area is truly a jungle in the desert.

Cactus love

Cactus Love :)

This Saguaro makes Anne look tiny

This Saguaro makes Anne look tiny

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And the view did not disappoint!

Ray and Anne in Saguaro N.P.

Ray and Anne in Saguaro N.P.

The weather for our short 2 day visit was spectacular with highs about 80 degrees and plenty of sunshine. The last evening we headed to a spot we had picked out for Anne to photograph Saguaro highlighted by the sunset. It could not have been more beautiful. A warm, quiet evening with no one else in sight.  Just us and the Saguaro Cactus.  It’s weird but the cactus start to take on a life-like quality due to the human like shapes. I swear they move when we aren’t looking. Smile

Cholla cactus in the setting sun

Cholla cactus in the setting sun

Saguaro National Park Photo

Saguaro National Park Photo

Sadly our time in Saguaro National Park was too short but we had plans to visit Quartzsite next and the forecast is for some rain and cloud so off we go for our next adventure. We mark it down as another place we need to visit again..a growing list.

Video clip of our visit to Saguaro National Park

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  • Gary and Lisa

    Just came across your site. We are enjoying it a bunch. We plan to start fulltiming later this year. Wondering how you have been picking your campgrounds and if you have a list of good ones and ones to avoid. We heading eventually to Key West and then up the eastern seaboard. Starting in N.Ca.
    Anyway great blog will check it often.
    Thanks Gary and Lisa

  • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

    Hi Gary and Lisa, thanks for visiting. For picking campgrounds I usually use http://www.allstays.com/Campgrounds/campgrounds.htm , they have a great app for Ipad to find them and http://www.rvparkreviews.com to read others reviews. I’ll then have a gander at the satellite view of the campground. We also belong to a camping membership type group called Thousand Trails. Here is my review on it – http://loveyourrv.com/thousand-trails-zone-camping-pass/. It’s been really good out west here, but can’t advise how great the sites are in the east. I haven’t kept a list of parks but usually we find the State Parks to be some of the best deals, nicest sites and located in the more beautiful areas.

  • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

    Your right Allison, we barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. We will have to return for a much longer stay. :)

  • http://retiredbicycle.blogspot.com Allison

    You should come back! Tucson has a lot to offer in the winter. There is also Saguaro National Park (east). It’s just lovely. We winter here and thoroughly enjoy the area.

  • Carl

    I love your blog, all your reviews and the pictures. I would be interested in what kind of camera you use.
    We are still in the market for a 5th wheel and we would like to take an extended trips like you and your wife when I retire in 16 months and so your 5th wheel review was very helpful. Your comments about keeping length around 30′ or less is helpful too.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Thanks so much Carl. The size suits us fine. Some people need more space, it’s so much a personal preference. I would go look at RV’s and hang out in them going through in your mind all the things you would be doing in a day, cooking, sitting at the table, lounging, using the bedroom and bathroom, etc. Try to imagine yourselves in there for long stretches of time. My wife and I get along really well so that helps a lot.

      My camera for the shots on this blog is actually a very cheap Sony DSC-510 I got at Walmart for $99. :) I had a nicer Olympus waterproof one but in the FLA keys, guess what, it decided to not be waterproof! My wife Anne (the photographer) uses a Canon 7D for her photography on her blog at http://AnneMckinnell.com

  • http://lowestravels.wordpress.com/ Steve and ML Lowe

    We missed the SNP while in Tucson for we opted to checked out the Desert Museum instead.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      We had planned on seeing the Desert Museum but the day of it was pouring rfain so decided to head out. Definitely would like to go back and explore the area more sometime.