Our kids loved Saguaro National Park, and we did, too. Walking among these colossal cactuses was a real treat, and our boys loved searching for creepy-crawlies like scorpions, giant desert centipedes, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes, all of which we saw in the area. We gathered all of our favorite hikes and put them into this Saguaro National Park Kid Hikes post.
One of the great things about hiking in Saguaro National Park is that most of the hikes are short and family-friendly. Just remember that there is no shade and the Sonoran Desert can be brutal in the heat of the day. Wear good shoes, a hat and sunscreen, and carry a lot of water.
We have divided our hiking list into West and East as Saguaro National Park has two separate areas, one on each side of Tucson. Hikes are very comparable in each section, so it doesn’t really matter which side you visit.
West Side: Tucson Mountain District
This trail is a short 0.3 miles roundtrip with information signs about the landscape and the plants and wildlife. It is paved and flat, which makes it perfect for wheels and toddlers. You will find this trail along Kinney Road near the Red Hills Visitor Center
Cactus Garden Trail
This tiny loop is located right next to the Visitor Center. The trail is paved and short, only about 0.25 miles total. We enjoyed this loop because the signs introduced us to all of the different types of cacti that we would see in the park. If you stop at the Visitor Center, this is a great spot to stretch legs and learn.
Signal Hill Petroglyphs is a short, unique hike in the area. At less than a quarter mile, this hike is easy, though it does have a bit of climbing to the top of a small hill to see the rock art. Total distance: 0.5 miles. This trail is located along the scenic route in the west side of Saguaro National Park.
We loved this hike in Saguaro. The trail is only 0.6 miles roundtrip, and it ends at a beautiful overlook of a huge area filled with Saguaro cacti. It was amazing to see them all growing there together.
You will access this trail in a whole different area than the main section of the park. This was one of our favorite trails because it offered a variety of things to see, including a few “mountains.” The views and the terrain of this hike make it a must-do recommendation from us.
East Side: Rincon District
The Mica View loop is the first trail we stopped at along the East Side, one-way scenic drive. This trail is paved for the first half, so you could make it an out and back if have wheels. We did the loop, and we loved being there in the morning and enjoying the gorgeous scenery.
The Desert Ecology Trail is paved, and short (only 0.25 miles). It is very similar to the Desert Discovery Trail on the other side of the park. There are information signs that teach about the area and the wildlife. There is a small pull out just past the Mica View picnic area on the main drive.
The Freeman Homestead trail leads to the ruins of an old homestead, as well as a wash where the family would have collected water. This trail is a 1.0 mile loop, and we enjoyed hiking through the cacti again on this trail.
We hope our list of Saguaro National Park Kid hikes will help you plan your visit to this park. Check out our Saguaro Family Guide for more info, too.