9. Saguaro National Park Self Guided Driving Audio Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 21+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Saguaro National Park in 2-3 hours. This self-guided driving tour features both West and East Saguaro National Park. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will serve as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map, all in one! Once downloaded, your journey through West Saguaro National Park starts adjacent to 4960 W Ajo Highway in Tucson. As you drive, dig into the secrets behind the park’s majestic mountains. Learn how they began as mere mud and hear about the tectonic changes that shaped them! Then see the Old Tucson Theme Park, a movie set turned into a totally unique theme park. Next, stop at the Gates Pass Scenic Lookout for enchanting views of Tucson’s ancient rock formations. You’ll meet Thomas Gates, the pass’s namesake and hear about his eclectic life as a pioneer, gambler, entrepreneur, and prison superintendent! As the journey continues, take in the grand Saguaro cacti. Uncover how they sustain the park’s wildlife, and how the Tohono O’odham once used these iconic succulents! Next stop is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, featuring all kinds of exhibits about the natural wonders of the desert. Get to know rugged homesteaders like Emilio Carillo, whose successful cattle ranch attracted a rather greedy gang and nearly cost him his life! For more drama, you’ll learn about the area’s mining history and unearth stories full of embezzlement, greed, and kidnapping! The journey continues onto the Valley View Overlook Trail, one of the most popular (and scenic) hikes in the whole park. As you drive on, get the wild story behind the park’s formation, covering eight decades! Discover the mysterious petroglyphs of Signal Hill and get acquainted with Geronimo, who lived not far from this very park! The East Saguaro Tour begins at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center in Tucson. Get the stories of the Hohokam, then stop at the breathtaking Sonoran Desert Outlook. Next, you’ll find out just how courageous the bighorn sheep really are! Hear how they can scale cliffs and balance upon precipices. Speaking of wildlife, you’ll also get some ferocious facts about the local mountain lions.As you continue, you’ll reach the Cactus Forest Trail, an incredible path through the park’s famous cacti. Stop by the scenic Riparian Overlook, then continue on to the famously beautiful Tanque Verde Ridge Trail. Your tour concludes here.