National Parks/Monuments

Desert Ecology Trail | Saguaro

(Last Updated On: February 24, 2022)

In the east section of Saguaro National Park is a nice little nature trail called the Desert Ecology Trail. This trail is short at a distance of only a third of a mile. It is also perfectly flat and paved, so wheels of any sort are welcome on this trail.

The trail is well marked and easy to find along the loop.

The Desert Ecology trail in Saguaro starts on the scenic loop in the east section of the park. There is a parking area suited for a few cars on the right, and the trail starts on the left. It is clearly marked, and the cars move in and out quickly, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding the trail or parking at the trailhead. This map will help you find the trailhead.

This trail has interpretive signs that take you through the different varieties of cactus that can be found in the area. It gives information on the famous saguaro cactus, but also points out the teddy bear cholla, chain fruit, prickly pear, and barrel cactuses. It is a really nice informative stroll for small children.

This hike is paved and short.
We like signs that teach our kids as we hike.

There were a few trails that we worried about creepy-crawlies such as rattlesnakes, tarantulas, or scorpions in this national park (and we saw all three in certain areas), but the Desert Ecology Trail is wide and paved, so it seemed a lot safer. If you’re worried about venomous animals, this is the right trail for you as it is clear of underbrush.

One nice thing about this trail is that it is short enough to leave your water bottles and backpacks in the car, which is rare in the Sonoran Desert. Even if you are just out for a scenic drive, this gentle trail is just right for everyone. So make sure to stop and give the Desert Ecology Trail in Saguaro a try.

There are benches along the way for a rest, or to sit and admire the views.
The Desert Ecology trail is an easy walk.

For other long hikes in Saguaro, check out our Saguaro National Park Kid Hikes post. We also have a family guide to Saguaro National Park.

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