register help

Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP, AZ

38 31 0
Guide 31 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
3 of 5 by 3
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 5.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,765 feet
Elevation Gain 345 feet
Accumulated Gain 559 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.06
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2017-07-31 markthurman53
14  2017-07-31
Cactus Forest Freeman Homestead
4  2013-03-17
SNP Cactus Forest Mesquite Trails
5  2013-02-20 BrettVet
4  2011-08-24
Mica View Trail - Saguaro NP
1  2011-03-22 Pivo
4  2011-01-02 Pivo
4  2010-08-26
Shantz Trail - Saguaro NP
Page 1,  2
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 475
Photos 5,651
Trips 400 map ( 3,956 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Mar, Nov, Dec
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:11am - 6:20pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Your North - South Connection
by markthurman53

Most of the trails on the Northwest side of Saguaro National Park are a maze of trails with no apparent destination other than another trail. They form a network of trails that can be combined like Legos to make numerous different loop trails. There are a few exceptions, The Douglas Spring trail with Destinations in the Rincon Mountains, Wildhorse Canyon Trail leading to Wildhorse Canyon pools and the Cactus Forest Trail, the Parks major north south trail. The cactus Forest Trail has its northern terminus at the Broadway Trail Head and southern terminus on Old Spanish Trail at the Irvington Trail Head. This trail follows almost entirely along the Javelina Wash water shed with the exception of the last mile near Old Spanish Trail. I consider this a ridge trail because it stays out of the washes except to cross them.

From the Broadway Trailhead the trail heads south, crosses the Shantz Trail almost immediately and at 0.6 miles crosses Javelina Wash crossing over to the ridge on the east side of the wash. The Cholla Trail heads east from this trail at 0.7 miles, Mica View heads West at 1.0 mile and Mesquite Trail heads east 1.2 miles. Still on the ridge separating the Loma Verde Wash to the east and the Javelina Wash to the west, the Cactus Forest Loop Drive comes up at 1.8 miles. The trail crosses the Loop drive, and then follows on a ridge to the east of Javelina Wash East Branch. At 2 miles, just prior to crossing Javelina Wash East are the remnants of Cactus Shack, a storage shed built by the University Of Arizona to be used in conjunction with a telescope that was to be placed on the hill just east of this shed. The Telescope was never installed. The Shed was later used by the CCC during Park development and in 1936 it was converted to a ranger’s residence. The structure was leveled in 1960 only the foundation remains today. The trail now is approaching the hills just below Tanque Verde Ridge and it is at this point 2.7 miles that you come to the location of the Lime Kilns and the Junction with the Lime Falls Trail. During the 1880’s the kilns supplied Quicklime for construction needs in Tucson, The limestone came from the hills just east of this site and Mesquite trees provided the fuel for the kilns. Just off the trail a few yards is one of these kilns. From here the trail climbs a small ridge separating Javelina Wash East from Javelina Wash West. Javelina Wash West is crossed at 3.6 miles and Cactus Forest Loop Drive is crossed at 4.2 miles. Cactus Forest loop Road travels along a ridge that separates the Javelina Wash water shed from the washes west of the loop road that flow west toward Spanish trail. The Cactus Forest Trail from the Loop Road to Old Spanish trail is quite different from the trail so far, the smooth trail gives way to a less maintained and rockier trail. This is probably due to the fact that it is not as heavily travelled. This is a nice trail to take if you want a change from the maze of trails on the far northwest portion of the Park. Bicycles are allowed on this trail only on the inside portions of the Cactus Forest Loop Drive.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2017-07-31 markthurman53
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
    area related
    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region related

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
I decided it had been too long since I last visited the Broadway Trailhead and decided to take a quick evening run. Instead of planning my run in advance- I left my maps behind and just let my legs choose what direction to turn at the junctions. I ended up having my first snake encounter of the year, and one of my closest run-ins to date. I came out of a sharp corner and upset a rattlensake that was basking in the middle of the trail! I was forced to jump off the trail into prickly pear, but at least thorns are better than being bitten!
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Went for a run from Broadway trailhead. Didn't really know how long of a run my legs were up for, so I just took off with no real destination in mind. It was nice and cloudy out for most of the time I was on the trail, I even had a couple small showers. Ended up running from the Broadway Trailhead, south to Loma Verde Trailhead, back north to Douglas Spring Trailhead, then swung south to Pink Hill and worked my way back to where I started. I think I covered nearly every trail between Speedway & Cactus Forest Drive!
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
I'm really getting into exploring the network of trails in Saguaro National Park East! The trails are well maintained and work great for running: allowing me to cover a good amount of ground in a very short period of time. I took a quick evening run from the Broadway Trailhead over towards the Loma Verde Mine & looped back. Encountered 5 other trail runners and only two hikers.
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Took a little midnight stroll through Saguaro National Park East. Beautiful night to be outside and have the entire park to myself. Saw a decent amount of wildlife and took my time to experiment with taking night time photos. Started to sprinkle as soon as I got back in my truck.
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Started an hour before sunset and ended shortly after 8pm: hiked from the Broadway trailhead to the Old Spanish Trail trailhead. I realized I have been rushing through some of my more recent hikes, so I took my camera along and enjoyed the evening. Great weather for hiking: not too hot, beautiful clouds moving over Tucson and a nice storm over the Rincons. As with most of my recent evening/night hikes I saw plenty of wildlife: including two Rattlesnakes and a Gila Monster.

Side Note: This was my first time hiking in Five Finger TrekSports. They were more protective than I thought over the desert landscape, but my feet and calves are sure sore! 5 miles may have been a bit much for my first hike in them!
Cactus Forest Trail - Saguaro NP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Night time hike to avoid the daytime heat. Started at the east end of Broadway and wandered through Saguaro National Park. Saw more wildlife than I have seen on a hike in a long time: Rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, more tarantulas than I could count, and a scorpion that looked like it could take down a cow!

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Broadway Trailhead
From anywhere in Tucson take Broadway Boulevard east almost to its terminus just before N. Camino Del Codorniz. It's 14.6mi from I-10 straight through on Broadway.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 128 mi - about 2 hours 15 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 18.2 mi - about 39 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 271 mi - about 4 hours 21 mins
page created by joebartels on Jul 31 2017 7:07 pm
help comment issue

end of page marker