Saguaro National Park

Last Updated 4/30/24

Unlike most national parks, Saguaro is split into two parks on either side of Tucson, Arizona. One side of the park gives you a chance to experience the Sonoran Desert, complete with numerous plant species. This includes the iconic Saguaro cactus, towering over the desert with its arms. The east side of the park gives you the desert floor on the bottom with hikes that go up into one of Arizona’s “sky islands”, where you can climb up to a Canadian-like environment over the course of just a few miles!

Despite being close to a city, the park gives you an opportunity to experience some wild areas, hear coyotes at night, and see evidence that ancient humans had been there via the petroglyphs they left behind. For people not familiar with the desert, it can feel like an exotic environment.

In addition to the park, a huge adjacent city park gives even more opportunities to see the desert, camp with full hookups, and see even more scenic vistas. Things you can’t do in national parks, like mountain biking, shooting, archery, and hunting, are possible in some areas of that park. This is probably a park best visited in the spring, fall, and winter.

Getting There In An EV

Quick Facts and Tips:

  • Because the park straddles the city of Tucson, Arizona and Interstate 10, it’s one of the easiest parks to get to in an EV. If you can get to Tucson, you can get to the park with ease!
  • Several DC fast charging stations are within 5 miles of the west side of the park, and this includes CCS, CHAdeMO, and Tesla Supercharger/NACS stations.
  • A V2 Supercharger is pretty close to the east side of the park, but it’s a bit more of a drive from the nearest reliable CCS chargers to that side of the park. But, it should still be within easy range for all but a few old and degraded EVs.
  • There are a few hotels and resorts in Tucson with Level 2 charging to fill up while you sleep, but they are of mixed reliability. Definitely check Plugshare before staying at one to make sure it has good recent ratings.
  • The Tucson Mountain Park has one campground with 50-amp hookups just outside of Saguaro National Park. But, be sure to call ahead and make sure it’s OK to charge an EV before you plan to do that, as rules can change.
  • The easy availability of nearby rapid charging opens up opportunities to use your car as a battery for a campsite without power. You can find public lands camping opportunities (some free) on Campendium here. There are BLM and Forest Service campsites and dispersed camping areas both in the desert and up in the pines, so this is a good option for all seasons!

This park can be a good stop along the way to other parks nearby. Picacho State Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and several other options are a great fit for a spring/fall trip.

Links for Further Park and Nearby Information

Here’s a great video showing some of the things you can do in the park, what the park is all about, and a review of the campsite next to the park:

Featured image by Saguaro Pictures, from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 License).