Tucson and Surrounding Area

While Saguaro National Park is the crown jewel of the Tucson area there are many other great locations.

  • If you enjoy shooting architecture you should visit Mission San Xavier del Bac or the Tumacacori Mission. Get there early as both missions can get very crowded. The interior of Mission San Xavier del Bac opens to the public at 7:00 AM and is spectacular, as is the outside which can be shot at any time. The mission seems to be in a state of continual repair and you'll need to choose your shots accordingly. The best side of the mission faces south. It photographs well at night (star trails to the north), during the blue hour, and at sunrise. For the interior a wide angle lens works best, I shot at 12mm and would have liked to be able to go wider. Tripods appear to be allowed inside the church.
  • If you enjoy viewing the works of the masters you should visit the Center for Creative Photography, founded in 1975 by Ansel Adams.
  • If shooting windows and doors is a favorite pastime, visit Barrio Viejo. S Meyer Ave between 17th Street and 19th Street is a good place to start, and parking is freely available.
  • The Cox Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion at the Tucson Botanical Gardens features tropical butterflies from around the world.
  • In 2017 the Arizona-Senora Desert Museum was rated the number three zoo in the US by the readers of USA Today, ahead of many notables including the renowned San Diego Zoo. You should definitely visit the Bighorn Sheep, the mountain woodland (for mountain lions), the Hummingbird Aviary, the Raptor free flight, and the cactus garden.
  • In addition to Saguaro NP there are many other great locations for landscape photographers. These include Sabino and Bear Canyons, Gates Pass, and Windy Point on Mount Lemmon. Parking at Windy Point is limited so get there well before sunset.

Google Map of the Tucson Area

Here is a Google map showing the locations of the above as well as most of the many trails in Saguaro National Park:

Google Map of the Tucson Area

To view the map in Google Maps please click anywhere on the map above.

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is comprised of two districts, an east district and a west district, separated by the City of Tucson. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from one district to the other, so plan your trip accordingly. Below are the official Saguaro National Park maps for both districts as jpegs and in three geocoded formats, as GeoTiffs, as KMZ files, and in Oruxmaps format. The official park map as a PDF for the east district can be found here, and the map for the west district here . The jpeg image below displays in low resolution, however if you download it you will get a full resolution 300dpi image. To download the full resolution jpeg right click on the image and choose Save Image As.

Saguaro East District National Park Service Map
Saguaro West District National Park Service Map

USGS 24K Topo Maps of Saguaro National Park

The east district of Saguaro NP is covered by four 24K topo maps, and the west district by two. For reference here are images showing the names of all six topo maps and their locations. Individual topo maps can be downloaded from the tables following these images, as can merge maps covering all of Saguaro National Park.

Saguaro National Park East District
Saguaro NP East Topo Maps

Saguaro National Park West District

Saguaro NP West Topo Maps

Geo Tiff/Avenza KMZ Oruxmaps KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Avra KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Jaynes KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Merged Map of Saguaro NP West NA NA KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared

Saguaro National Park Trails

The tables below contain KML and GPX routes for 50 hikes. The hikes have been divided into two groups, those in the Saguaro NP East and those in Saguaro NP West. Many of the trails are out and back but often several trails can be combined to produce a loop. Alternatively if two vehicles are available some great one way hikes can be constructed by combining several trails. Hiking distances shown below are one-way for out and back trails and total round-trip for loop trails. To use the information below first select a hike using a different source such as a book on Tucson hikes and find the corresponding trail (or trails) below. Download either a KML or GPX file to your GPS or phone. You can then follow the trail on your GPS / phone as you hike. You can also download a KML file to your PC or MAC and view it in Google Earth. In Google Earth 3D views are available, and you can see an elevation profile by right clicking on a trail.

Saguaro National Park West (Tucson Mountain District)
Trail Miles Download a KML Download a GPX
Bajada Wash Trail1.6KMLGPX
Brittlebrush Trail1.3KMLGPX
Cactus Canyon Trail1.8KMLGPX
Cactus Wren Trail2.0KMLGPX
Cam-Boh Trail2.5KMLGPX
Cheops Trail0.3KMLGPX
Coyote Pass Trail0.85KMLGPX
Desert Discovery Nature Trail0.4KMLGPX
Dobe Wash Trail1.4KMLGPX
Encinas Trail3.0KMLGPX
Gates Pass Trail4.4KMLGPX
Gould Mine Trail1.1KMLGPX
Hugh Norris Trail4.6KMLGPX
Ironwood Forest Trail1.4KMLGPX
King Canyon Trail2.3KMLGPX
Manville Trai2.4KMLGPX
Picture Wash Rocks Trail2.2KMLGPX
Rattlesnake Trail0.1KMLGPX
Ringtail Trail0.95KMLGPX
Sendero Esperanza Trail3.2KMLGPX
Sweetwater Trail4.7KMLGPX
Thunderbird Trail0.8KMLGPX
Valley View Overlook Trail0.4KMLGPX
Wild Dog Trail1.0KMLGPX
Yetman Trail6.1KMLGPX
All Saguaro NP West KMLGPX
Saguaro National Park East (Rincon Mountain District)
Trail Miles Download a KML Download a GPX
Arizona Trail8.5KMLGPX
Bajada Vista Trail0.65KMLGPX
Bridal Wreath Falls Trail0.35KMLGPX
Cactus Forest Trail South2.5KMLGPX
Cactus Forest Trail1.8KMLGPX
Carillo Trail3.8KMLGPX
Cholla Trail0.7KMLGPX
Deer Valley Trail0.4KMLGPX
Desert Ecology Trail0.3KMLGPX
Douglas Springs Trail6.2KMLGPX
Ernies Falls Trail1.1KMLGPX
Freeman Homestead Trail0.9KMLGPX
Garwood Trail0.6KMLGPX
Kennedy Trail0.4KMLGPX
Loma Verde Trail2.4KMLGPX
Mesquite Trail1.0KMLGPX
Mica View Trail0.7KMLGPX
Pink Hill Trail1.6KMLGPX
Shantz Trail4.9KMLGPX
Squeeze Pen Trail0.5KMLGPX
Tanque Verde Ridge Trail11.1KMLGPX
Three Tank Trail2.2KMLGPX
Vanover Trail1.6KMLGPX
Wild Horse Canyon Trail1.5KMLGPX
Wildhorse Trail0.7KMLGPX
All Saguaro NP East KMLGPX