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Saguaro National Park ~ West District

Posted by on April 12, 2013

Cactus wren


When you arrive at the  Saguaro National Park the first thing you notice is the abundance of the beautiful Saguaro cactus.   They grow in many shapes and heights. they are like sculptures in the desert. No two are alike. The blossom which looks like it is carved out of wax, is the State Flower of Arizona. Saguaros have a relatively long life span. They take up to 75 years to develop a side arm. Some of these beauties can live 150 years. Take all of the back roads in the park. There are picnic areas and many trails to wander around.  The visitor center should be your first stop.

RV Parks in this are that we like are GILBERT RAY,  and DESERT TRAILS RV Park, which is our favorite. In addition to the nice RV sites, they have great entertainment, and lots of acvtivities. The pool and the large Dog Park are also reasons to choose this park.


A saguaro without arms is called a spear.  The night blooming white and yellow flowers appear April through June and the sweet, ruby-colored fruit matures by late June. Saguaro flowers are self incompatible thus require cross pollination. Large quantities of pollen are required for complete pollination as there are numerous ovules. A well pollinated fruit will contain several thousand tiny seeds.

The major pollinators are bats, primarily the lesser long-nosed bat, feeding on the nectar from the night-blooming flowers, which often remain open in the morning.

This is the West district of Saguaro National Park. The other part is to the east across Interstate 10.

Arizona Butterfly


Saguaro national Park Sign












The best part about camping in this district of the park is the close proximity to The Desert Museum. Here in about 23 acres you can walk among thousands of native plants and flowers. The desert if much more than stickers and sand. The flowers are beautiful and some of the cacti develop edible fruits such as the Barrel Cactus and the Prickly Pear.


Saguaro Fruit

The Desert Museum has over two miles of trails. Often you will come upon some of the critters who live here; like various types of snakes, rodents and birds. They are not confined in cages, they live here. In addition to the locals, there are many exhibits of other mammals, birds and reptiles. BIRDS! now this is the place to see and photograph birds. Again you will see many wild raptors flying overhead but during the winter months be sure to see the Free Flight. These birds that fly about do what they do best, they look for food and soar overhead.  The  official museum bird professional let them out by species and entice them to stick around with tasty teats. Occasionally one will spot a rabbit or rodent and go out into the desert after it.  This part of the museum is a perfect opportunity for you to sharpen your photography skills.  Fast moving, diving and soaring raptors give you every opportunity to snap an award winning photograph. Check with the museum for the times and dates this opportunity is offered.

Costas up close







If you time your visit just right you will be able to witness  the Hummingbird and Butterfly migration in this area as well as the Sierra Vista area.


Arizona Monarch Butterfly


Tomorrow we will head for Congress, Arizona to visit with some of our favorite RV friends, Ron and Elena.


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