A safe place to see some cacti.
Overview: From the NPS: Leaving from the Group Campground,this trail leads you on a trip though native vegetation and tells a story of how people use the desert to make a living.
Hike: This short loop leads through the low foothills near the visitor center - the most heavily used part of the park. However, as the trail winds through stands of Organ Pipe, Saguaro, Ocotillo, Barrels, Hedgehog, Prickly Pear, Cholla and Mammilaria, even the most jaded desert visitor can find themselves enchanted by the sheer diversity of life found on these slopes. The interpretive signs are subtle and have some fun facts, mostly focused on the uses of the plants to the native peoples. The grade stays even and steady, making for nearly mindless walking as you explore the finer details of the desert.
Just when you think it's all going to be down in the valley and washes, the trail begins a gradual climb up to a ridge line which offers amazing views to the south and west. Sweeping vistas of Sonoyta Valley and the pink granite of the Cuabi Mountains in nearby Mexico open up, and a couple of benches are placed for capturing a desert sunset. When we visited, the views were crowded with RVers, equipped with cameras, tripods and glasses of red wine. Too bad the sunset was lackluster...
The trail meanders back down to the group campground, a little steeper in this direction, with some steps installed to keep everything smooth and easy. It's a perfect hike for visitors, to those uninitiated with the Sonoran Desert and for seasoned hikers looking for a quick stroll to round out the sunset.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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