Sunset at Saguaro National Park

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Best sunset

America's Best Sunset

Coyotes sing as the sun drops low on the horizon.  It is one of those moments in life that will stay with you forever.  Perhaps Arizona's Saguaro National Park has America's best sunset.

Saguaro silhouettes stand tall from the Sonoran desert floor.  Each cactus is different in shape, color, and form.  At night, this place comes alive.  Birds sing, mammals emerge from their underground sanctuaries, reptiles slither or run to soak up the dissipating heat.  A gentle breeze starts up, as it always does in the desert evening.

A warm pink effuses from the distant mountains.  It turns orange and back to pink and then purple.  It makes this harsh, prickly landscape appear almost soft.

Our Experience:

It was a long drive from the Grand Canyon.  We arrived just as the sun was setting.  This trip to Saguaro was not on our original itinerary.  We have found with experience that sometimes these unplanned adventures are the highlight of an excursion, and Saguaro did not disappoint.

The visitor center's Desert Ecology Trail is a good start in this park because it orients you to the incredible biodiversity found in this ecosystem.  For example, there are 25 species of cacti here.  Right outside the visitor center, you get to get up close with these iconic cacti and most of the other species on a short hike with plenty of benches for rest.

There are multiple pullouts along the loop scenic drive, some lead to trailheads.  We wanted to enjoy the setting sun, and any of these trails is a great place to do it.  You can walk along the well-marked paths or sit on one of the benches.  This allowed us to get out among the Saguaro.  It is one thing to see them from the road, but to be amongst them is best.  Although we did not do a lot of hiking, what we did was amazing.  This place is so easy to photograph because it is simply stunning at sunset.

Travelling from Saguaro we head to Joshua Tree National park for more camping and hiking read here.

Hiker Tips:

  • Stay on the trail.  Erosion from foot traffic damages this fragile ecosystem.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to protect your skin from the sun and prickly plants and animals.
  • Bring plenty of water.
  • For more information visit: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm

For great road trip ideas, click here.

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