When we first came to Benson, Arizona last year we visited the Saguaro National Park east of Tucson. There are two parts to the park and the western part is about 15 miles southwest of Tucson and about an hour and a half drive from Benson. We visited it last Thursday.
The landscape at the western part of the park is closer and a bit more intimate than the eastern side. There were magnificent views but its not a friendly place and we often got the feeling we were visiting an alien planet.
Having lived most of our lives in New England, Susan and I are a bit surprised about how much we like the area near Tucson. It has a beauty and spaciousness that has been easy to get used to.
The cactus are just starting to come into bloom. We’re leaving soon so we will miss the peak of their blooming, but we won’t miss the heat.
It’s been in the 80’s and low 90’s for the last several weeks. Last year we were here until the end of June and it was in the 100’s frequently. You do get used to it somewhat, but we don’t care if it’s “dry heat”, when it gets above 90 it’s still hot.
It was sunny and in the mid-80’s while we were at the park and we were glad we brought along a lot of water and apple juice to drink. There was a small Visitor’s center and a handicap accessible nature trail near the main road. We took the nature trail and just after reading a plaque about the local reptiles, this fellow, a zebra-tailed lizard appeared in the path.
The western part of Saguaro National Park is smaller than the eastern part, and the scenery reflects that. There are similarities between both parts (lots of Saguaro cactus) but enough differences that they are both well worth visiting.
We give the park an A+ for handicap accessibility. There were plenty of turn-offs in the road where you could stop a see the scenery, the Visitor’s center had motorized doors both for the center and the restrooms, and it had an excellent handicap accessible nature trail.