Saguaro NP--West--Desert Discovery Trail

Saguaro NP--West--Desert Discovery Trail

Tucson Mountain District (West) 2700 North Kinney Road Tucson, Arizona 85743

Saguaro National Park website
Saguaro National Park maps
Saguaro National Park - West Hiking Guide

About this Location

Desert Discovery Trail is .5 miles. You will find the trailhead to this self-guided nature trail on Kinney Road, 1 mile northwest of the Red Hills Visitor Center. Exhibits discuss the native plants, animals, and ecology of the Sonoran Desert. This paved trail is wheelchair accessible and offers resting benches and shade ramadas.

About Saguaro NP West - Tucson Mountain District

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Saguaro National Park is composed of two distinct districts: The Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. The Tucson Mountain District lies on the west side of Tucson, Arizona, while the Rincon Mountain District lies on the east side of Tucson. Both districts were formed to protect and exhibit forests of their namesake plant: the Saguaro Cactus.

Most people think of Saguaro National Park as being a desert park. True, the lower elevations of the park encompass Sonoran Desert Vegetation, but there is much more to Saguaro National Park than just cacti.

The Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,180 ft to 4,687 ft and contains 2 biotic communities, desert scrub, and desert grassland. The average annual precipitation is approximately 10.27 in. Common wildlife includes the coyote, Gambel’s quail, and desert tortoise.

The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park ranges from an elevation of 2,670 ft to 8,666 ft and contains 6 biotic communities. The biotic communities (starting from the lowest elevation) include desert scrub, desert grassland, oak woodland, pine-oak woodland, pine forest, and mixed conifer forest. The average annual precipitation is approximately 12.30 in. The Rincon Mountains peak at a considerably higher elevation than the Tucson Mountains, therefore there are more biotic communities and increased plant and wildlife diversity. Because of the higher elevation in the Rincons, animals like the black bear, Mexican spotted owl, Arizona mountain king snake, and white-tailed deer live in this district.

Notable Trails

The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike on the Desert Discovery Trail.


  • Wheelchair accessible trail

Content from Tucson Mountain District Trails brochure with map and Saguaro National Park webpage

Last updated February 25, 2024

Saguaro National Park - West Trail Map