Friday mystery photo

SaguaroPictures, Wikimedia Commons

This photo photo was taken at Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Saguaro National Park was designated to protect the universal symbol of the American west—the giant saguaro. Saguaro can only be found only in a small portion of the U.S., and are currently threatened by warming temperatures caused by climate change.

Photo: DH Park, Flickr

Saguaro National Monument was created on March 1, 1933 by President Herbert Hoover. On October 14, 1994, Congress elevated Saguaro to National Park status.

The park is divided into two sections, called districts, lying approximately 20 miles east and 15 miles west of the center of Tucson, Arizona. The total area in 2011 was 91,442 acres, of which 70,905 acres are designated wilderness. Both are easily reached by car from Tucson, but there is no public transport into the park. 

Photo: jwstang31, Flickr

Saguaro National Park's Rincon Mountain District is located at the eastern edge of Tucson, and includes the land protected in the original National Monument. Plant communities at the lower elevations in the park are typical of the Sonoran Desert, while the Rincon Mountains support a temperate coniferous forest. The highest peak in this range is Mica Mountain, at an elevation of 8,664 feetWhile this side of the park has fewer saguaro than its counterpart they are larger in size, due to higher amounts of rainfall and run off from the Rincon Mountains.

The key feature of Rincon Mountain District is its 8.3-mile loop road, which provides access to the two picnic areas and the central trails. Hiking on this side of the park is readily accessible to visitors. There are trailheads present at the east end of Speedway and Broadway and these are popular with equestrians, especially on weekends. Off the park's loop road there are several additional trailheads.