Stroll among the saguaros...
Saguaro National Park - West is one of the best places to see raw, pristine desert. Numerous short trails exist within the park and many include informational signs and descriptions along their course, including Valley View. These short trails are usually not terribly strenuous, making them great destinations for family outings and newcomers to the desert. This trail is also sometimes called the "Valley View Overlook" trail for the vista point at its terminus.
After departing the parking area, the trail begins to wind northward and almost immediately encounters a junction with the Wild Dog trail; continue north. The trail is flanked by informational signs every few meters describing desert flora growing in the area. The signs discontinue at three-tenths of a mile where the trail encounters the Encinas Wash trail; continue across the wash (north) ignoring the sign that states that the track you are following leads to Golden Gate road in 0.7 miles. The trail climbs through the bedrock and wanders through a large saguaro stand. Excellent views of the southern portions of the Park dominate throughout this section. At roughly one-half mile the trail encounters a small hill with a few social trails breaking west to ascend it. Ignore these trails and continue north. After climbing over a minor saddle, the trail quickly ascends a small hill and terminates at its rocky apex. From this natural overlook amazing views back toward Golden Gate Park, east toward Tucson and the Coronado Ranges, and north toward the Tortolitas abound. Picacho Peak appears on the northern horizon, as well.
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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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