Enormous cacti, silhouetted by the setting sun, for most of us the Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. And yet, these majestic plants are only found in a small portion of the United States. Saguaro National Park protects some of the most impressive forests of these sub-tropical giants. Saguaro National Park, located in the state of Arizona. Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections, lying approximately 20 miles (32 km) east and 15 miles (24 km) west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. Total area in 2002 was 143 square miles (91,327 acres) (370 km²) of which 111 square miles (289 km²) is designated wilderness. Both sections conserve fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert, including ranges of significant hills, the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east. The park gets its name from the saguaro cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel cactus, cholla cactus, and prickly pear, are also abundant in the park. One endangered animal, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat, lives in the park part of the year during its migration, together with one threatened species, the Mexican Spotted Owl. The park was established as Saguaro National Monument on March 1, 1933 and changed to a national park on October 14, 1994.
As seen at https://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro_National_Park
The ranch shares a 2-mile border with Saguaro National Park West and the ecosystem of the ranch is very similar to the park. The all-day ride (offered twice a week) takes you into the Park where you'll stop for a picnic lunch delivered to a covered ramada by ranch staff. There is a picket line for the horses where they are watered during lunch and restrooms are available. The park is especially beautiful from mid-January, when the wildflowers begin to bloom until the end of June, when the cactus have finished blooming. Within the park is the Sonora Desert Museum, a world-renowned living museum on 98 acres. It is a zoo, an aquarium, a botanical garden and a natural history museum, that is a definite must-see. The museum is a 25-minute drive from the ranch, directly through the Park amidst breath-taking stands of towering Saguaros.
Our guided hiking program offers miles of beautiful trails. An experienced and knowledgeable hiking guide can take you deep into the Saguaro National Park which borders the ranch property. Hikes and horseback rides through the Saguaro National Park will showcase many different species of cactus, animals, and birds; guides and wranglers will educate you every step of the way!
Rancho de la Osa is just an hour and a half from Saguaro National Park West and about two hours from the East district of the park. Passing through Tucson on the way to the ranch offers a great chance to see the majestic Saguaro in their most densely populated location. Or, an easy day trip from the ranch could lead to a visit to either end of the park and the world-renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Elkhorn Ranch lies an hour's drive south, in the wide open working landscape of the Altar Valley. When you look south you'll see a triangular peak called Baboquivari Peak, sacred to the Tohono O'odham Nation and a landmark visible from throughout the Altar Valley. Be sure to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on the edge of the park, along Kinney Road -- our favorite place to send Elkhorn Ranch visitors. You can dive into the natural history of the Sonoran Desert as you wander through the museum's lovely gardens and naturally designed wildlife exhibits. Visit Kitt Peak National Observatory and San Xavier del Bac Mission too!