Cactus Forest Trail

Tucson, Arizona

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This trail starts from the scenic loop drive and wanders north through gentle desert terrain past magnificent stands of saguaro cactus. The first portion of the trail, inside the scenic loop drive, is open to mountain bikers. Look for several examples of dead and fallen saguaros, which reveal their inner structure. Unlike trees, saguaros are supported by a ring of woody, individual ribs just under the outer skin of the plant. The interior consists of a moist pulp, which is protected by the ribs. Unlike some desert plants, saguaros do not use deep groundwater to survive dry periods. Instead, these huge cacti have a shallow root system that collects water rapidly after rains. The entire plant expands as it stores water and gradually contracts as internal moisture is used.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Tucson

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Easy Day Hikes: Tucson

by Bruce Grubbs (Falcon Guides)

This trail starts from the scenic loop drive and wanders north through gentle desert terrain past magnificent stands of saguaro cactus. The first portion of the trail, inside the scenic loop drive, is open to mountain bikers. Look for several examples of dead and fallen saguaros, which reveal their inner structure. Unlike trees, saguaros are supported by a ring of woody, individual ribs just under the outer skin of the plant.

The interior consists of a moist pulp, which is protected by the ribs. Unlike some desert plants, saguaros do not use deep groundwater to survive dry periods. Instead, these huge cacti have a shallow root system that collects water rapidly after rains. The entire plant expands as it stores water and gradually contracts as internal moisture is used.

© 2017 Bruce Grubbs/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Tucson
Distance: 8.4
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 5 hours
Season: Fall through spring
Local Contacts: Saguaro National Park, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson 85730; (520) 733–5158; www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm
Local Maps: USGS Tanque Verde Peak; National Geographic: Saguaro National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Cactus Forest Trail

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May 2018