RV Camping Near Saguaro National Park

RV Destinations | Location


The desert is a lot like the ocean, so full of mystery and beauty that the only way to understand it is to explore it. Hiking along peaceful, sandy trails in Arizona’s warm sun is one of the best ways locals and tourists like to appreciate this unique environment.

Still, the best way to immerse yourself in the desert is by camping in it.

With an average of 286 days of sunny weather per year, Tucson is a popular town for RV camping. The Saguaro National Park extends to both sides of the city and remains one of the most popular destinations in southern Arizona to camp.

Its vast and beautiful landscape is unique to the southwest; you won’t see anything like it anywhere else in the world. Ready to see it for yourself? Read our handy guide to RV camping near Saguaro National Park to prepare.

Saguaro National Park Facts

Located in Pima County by Tucson, Arizona, Saguaro National Park is the ultimate place to see thousands of the mighty saguaro cactus. Here are some Saguaro National Park facts sure to inspire a trip out to the Old Pueblo.

  • Saguaro National Park is home to the United States’ most enormous cacti, the saguaro, protected both in the park and throughout Tucson.

  • The average saguaro cactus is 50 feet tall and weighs six tons. Their average life span is 150-175 years, but they can exceed 200 years old.

  • President Herbert Hoover was the one to declare this land a national monument in March 1933.

  • A saguaro cactus doesn’t produce flowers until it reaches 35 years old.

  • Saguaro National Park is home to a variety of animals that are only found in southern Arizona. Some of these animals include roadrunners, kangaroo rats, Gila monsters, and horned lizards.

  • The lower regions of the park are all desert land. However, the Tucson Mountain Park district reaches an elevation of 4,687 feet and has grasslands. The Rincon Mountain Park district goes as high as 8,666 feet and has much more diversity in wildlife and vegetation, including pine forests.

If a trip to southern Arizona is on your schedule, consider RV camping near Saguaro National Park. While there are no campsites that can be reached by vehicle inside the park, several nearby can deliver a similar experience to being inside it. Explore them below!

camping near saguaro national park

Best Saguaro National Park RV Parks and Campgrounds

Spending brisk, clear nights under the bright stars, purple night skies, and endless saguaro silhouettes behind the moonlight is an unforgettable experience that everyone should add to their bucket list. These Saguaro National Park RV campgrounds offer an ideal place to do just that.

Gilbert Ray Campground (Saguaro National Park West)

Amenities: Gilbert Ray Campground is one of the best Saguaro National Park RV sites. While sites vary in size, they are mostly on all-level ground. Each comes equipped with 30 amp hookups. All locations also come with a metal picnic table, fire ring, and drive-thru. There are several water spigots throughout the campground, two dumping stations, and a designated water area.

The bathrooms have flushing toilets but no showers. When it comes to waste, both trash and recycling options are available. Recreational hiking and biking trails nearby to take in and enjoy the desert scenery and numerous tall saguaros.

Capacity: 130 sites

More information:Gilbert Ray Campground

Justin’s Diamond J RV Park (Saguaro National Park West)

Amenities: The sites at Justin’s Diamond come with full hookups, including 20 and 30-amp electric hookups. Visitors can enjoy free WiFi, an area to do laundry, dump stations, and a trash site. The bathrooms have flushing toilets and showers.

Pets are allowed at this RV park, and they even have a dog run on-site so Rover can stretch his legs. This park is also in a great location for those who plan on taking their RV rental in Saguaro National Park for a cruise around the area.

Capacity: 125

More information: Diamond J RV Park

Rincon Country East RV Resort (Saguaro National Park East)

Amenities: Rincon Country East is one of the well-loved RV parks near Saguaro National Park. Though this is a resort geared towards 55+, families with children are welcome to stay for up to two weeks. Specific facilities, such as the pool, have age and usage restrictions.

Each site has full hookups with 30 and 50 amps, free Wi-Fi, and basic cable. Showers are on-site, as are a laundry facility, exercise room, and library. For RVers who enjoy participating in recreation activities, this resort has plenty of entertainment options. Options include pickleball, a pottery room, pools, shuffleboard, billiards, bocce ball, arts and crafts rooms and more.

Capacity: 456 sites

More information: Rincon County East RV Resort

Rincon Country West RV Resort (Saguaro National Park West)

Amenities: Much like its sister site in the east part of town, the Rincon Country West RV resort welcomes families and children to stay on their grounds for up to two weeks. This is one of the RV parks near Saguaro National Park West that is conveniently close to nature and offers the luxury of superior amenities.

Sites offer full 30 and 50 amp hookups and complimentary WiFi. Unlike many RV parks, this one has showers, pools, and even a workout room to burn off those extra road-snacking calories. Other recreation facilities include shuffleboard, a pottery room, pickleball, crafts, billiards, bocce ball, and more.

Capacity: 1,083 sites

More information: Rincon County West RV Resort

Bar J RV Park

Amenities: Bar J RV park is much more intimate with fewer campsites. It’s also more rural for an authentic desert experience. While there’s no official RV camping in Saguaro National Park, this is the closest thing to it.

Each site has its own 20/30/50 amp hookups and water hookups. Beyond the laundry facility, there isn’t much more on the campground, so come equipped with what you need. Bar J RV Park is a special place to catch some Arizona wildlife in action. Plus, it is one of the top campgrounds to bring your RV rental in Saguaro National Park’s proximity.

Capacity: 13 sites

More information:Bar J RV Park

camping near saguaro national park

Photo Credit: Instagram User @jessej.media

Best Time to Visit Saguaro National Park for RV Camping

It wouldn’t be hard to argue that the best time of year to visit Saguaro National Park is in the winter—just ask snowbirds that come to Tucson every year. However, each season offers its own unique set of benefits.


It’s no secret that Arizona has some of the best winter weather in the country, which is part of the reason why it’s also the most crowded time of year. Since there isn’t much snow at this elevation level, accessibility is not affected during these months. If you’re lucky enough to experience snow in the desert, it makes for fantastic photographs, only to be melted away a few hours later.

While you can expect RV camping near Saguaro National Park this time of year to be relatively busy, hiking is an ideal way to break away and find your solitude. Most visitors focus on short walks and drives through the park. This means there’s plenty of space for everyone to explore.

An added benefit to spending time in Saguaro National Park during winter is that snakes and many other critters are hibernating, so your odds of running into something slithers are very slim.


Spring in southern Arizona is stunning. Some spectators argue that this is the best time to visit Saguaro National Park. The saguaro flowers and other desert vegetation are in full bloom, painting the desert landscape with yellow, pink, white, and red flowers.

During this season, the weather is hit or miss; it could be a nice brisk day or on the warmer side, depending on the year. March through May still brings many visitors to southern Arizona, but as the sun’s heat intensifies, snowbirds pack up to leave, and tourism dies down leading up to summer.

This time of year is also suitable for hiking, but it will start to make you consider going at earlier hours to beat the heat on warmer days. The mornings are still chilly and pleasant, and while you may see lots of baby quail and bunnies in the park, it’s still not quite snake season yet. If you’re a photographer, you won’t want to miss visiting Arizona in the springtime, as the desert colors against a bright blue sky are incomparable.


Let’s be honest—Arizona summers can be brutal. The heat and dry air combination are enough to scare off anyone with even a slight intolerance for higher temperatures. But there is also something to be said for those wonderfully warm evenings in the desert after sunset.

If you’re an early riser, an Arizona summer could be your ideal camping weather due to how beautiful the desert is at early dawn. Except for monsoon season (June-September), the humidity is rather low, so the triple-digit weather isn’t as harsh as you might get in states like Louisiana and Florida. This is also a good time of year to spend time driving your RV rental in Saguaro National Park to get great views without walking out in the heat.

Hiking at Saguaro National Park in the summer is more difficult than in other seasons, given the weather and the presence of snakes. However, it’s also the perfect time of year to take a drive throughout both sides of the park and catch some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see from inside them.

If you’re traveling during the monsoon season, the frequent afternoon rains cool down the desert and produce a sensational aroma throughout the land. Despite all of this, summer is the least crowded season at the Saguaro National Park campgrounds.


It can take a little while for it to feel truly like fall in Arizona, but once it does, it’s what some consider to be the best time of the year. Much like spring, there’s a healthy mix of warm and cool days, providing lots of options for outdoor activity. The mornings are generally light jacket weather and warm up to short-sleeve weather by noon. Even though the days are starting to get shorter, there are still plenty of hours of sunshine to play with.

Fall is also the time of year that snowbirds begin their journey back to Arizona, so in addition to more city traffic in Tucson, there’s also more traffic in Saguaro National Park.

Campsites will generally begin to fill up in late October, but there are typically still plenty of places with openings. Hiking, biking and bird watching are all great activities for fall time in the park. For those reasons, fall is one of the best times to visit Saguaro National Park.

Best Hiking Trails in Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, with its striking desert landscapes and iconic saguaro cacti, offers a variety of hiking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and unique ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert. Whether you're a seasoned hiker seeking a challenging trek or a casual hiker looking for a leisurely stroll, there's a trail for you in Saguaro National Park. Here are some of the best hiking trails to explore:

Rincon Mountain District Trails

  • Tanque Verde Ridge Trail: This challenging trail offers breathtaking views of the Rincon Mountains and the Tucson Basin. It's a strenuous hike, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Hikers can marvel at the diverse flora and fauna while gaining elevation.

  • Loma Verde Trail: A moderate trail that takes you through diverse ecosystems, from cacti-filled deserts to pine forests. It's a great option for those looking for a varied hiking experience.

  • Valley View Overlook Trail: A short, accessible trail located in the Rincon Mountain District. It's ideal for those with limited mobility or those looking for a quick introduction to the park's beauty. The trail leads to an overlook with stunning views of the valley below.

  • Wildlife Viewing Trail: Located in the Rincon Mountain District, this easy trail is perfect for wildlife enthusiasts. It meanders through diverse habitats where you can spot birds, reptiles, and other desert wildlife.

Tucson Mountain District Trails

  • Hugh Norris Trail: This rugged trail provides panoramic views of the Tucson Mountains, and it's known for its wildflower displays in the spring. It's a strenuous hike with steep sections, but it offers fantastic vistas.

  • Bajada Loop Trail: An easy, family-friendly trail that winds through a saguaro forest and offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching. It's particularly beautiful during sunrise and sunset.

  • Hope Camp Trail: A relatively easy trail that showcases the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. It passes through mesquite groves, grasslands, and offers a chance to explore the park's rich history, including old homestead sites.


When hiking in Saguaro National Park, it's important to be prepared for the desert environment. Carry plenty of water, wear sun protection, and be mindful of the weather, especially during the hot summer months. Additionally, it's a good practice to let someone know your hiking plans and expected return time.

Saguaro National Park's hiking trails provide opportunities to connect with nature, enjoy stunning vistas, and observe the unique flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. No matter your skill level or hiking preference, you're sure to find a trail that suits your interests and allows you to experience the park's natural wonders.

Wildlife in Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, located in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, is renowned for its iconic saguaro cacti, but it is also home to a diverse range of wildlife that has adapted to the harsh desert environment. This unique ecosystem provides a haven for numerous species, each with its own set of adaptations to thrive in this arid landscape. From reptiles and birds to mammals and insects, Saguaro National Park offers a rich tapestry of desert life waiting to be discovered.

Birds: The park is a birdwatcher's paradise, with over 200 species of birds calling it home. You can spot the magnificent Harris's hawk soaring overhead, the vibrant vermilion flycatcher darting among the cacti, and the cactus wren perched on the saguaro's arms. The park's diverse habitats, including desert scrub, riparian areas, and higher-elevation pine forests in the Rincon Mountains, provide a range of niches for avian species to thrive.

Mammals: While the desert may seem desolate, it is teeming with life, including several mammal species. Visitors may encounter the elusive desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and javelinas (also known as collared peccaries) foraging for food among the cacti. Coyotes, bobcats, and even mountain lions are also present in the park, although they are more secretive and rarely seen by visitors.

Reptiles: The desert is home to an array of reptiles adapted to extreme temperatures. Look for the iconic Gila monster, a venomous lizard with distinctive orange and black markings. Western diamondback rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, and desert tortoises are among the other reptilian inhabitants. These creatures have developed remarkable strategies for conserving water and regulating their body temperatures.

Insects and Arachnids: The desert floor may appear barren, but a closer look reveals a bustling ecosystem of insects and arachnids. Bees, ants, beetles, and a myriad of colorful butterflies and moths play vital roles in pollinating the desert flora. Tarantulas, scorpions, and various species of spiders are also present, showcasing the park's incredible biodiversity.

Amphibians: While not as numerous as other desert wildlife, some amphibians like the canyon tree frog and the lowland leopard frog can be found in the park's seasonal washes and riparian areas, taking advantage of the rare moments of moisture.

Plants: Of course, the saguaro cactus, with its towering arms, is the park's most famous plant species, but it's just one of many. Barrel cacti, ocotillos, creosote bushes, and prickly pear cacti are among the desert flora that provide food and shelter for the park's wildlife.

Visiting Saguaro National Park offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the enchanting world of desert wildlife. Whether you're an avid birder, a nature enthusiast, or simply curious about the remarkable adaptations that allow creatures to thrive in the harsh desert environment, the park's diverse ecosystem never fails to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world. Remember to tread lightly and respect the natural habitat of these incredible creatures while exploring this unique desert landscape.

camping near saguaro national park Credit: Instagram User @goldentrailz

Things to Do in Saguaro National Park

If you’re on a hunt to see the best collection of cactus in the world, this is your place. Although the term ‘desert’ might bring images of bare and empty sand dunes, Saguaro National Park is anything but that. There are many things to do in Saguaro National Park. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Hiking trails throughout the park

  • Visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just outside the western park’s perimeters

  • Seeing the Petroglyph ruins on the Signal Hill Trail, left behind by southern Arizona’s prehistoric Hohokam people.

  • Watching the sunset from Gates Pass Overlook, a prime location for desert photography

  • Hiking or biking the Desert Loop Trail in Saguaro National Park East for some of the best scenery the desert offers.

  • Stopping by both visitor centers on both the East and West sides of the park

  • Having a picnic at one of the many roadside tables throughout the park

camping near saguaro national park

Tips on Visiting Saguaro National Park

As you may have heard, southern Arizona generally has a very dry climate. No matter what season you visit, bring plenty of water for your time in the park. Many unsuspecting visitors have gotten severely dehydrated by not coming prepared.

There are lots of wildlife in the park that can be considered dangerous. If you are camping, be aware of some of the larger predators (like cougars and bobcats) that come out during the night. Don’t leave trash or food in the open.

Also, bring lots of sunscreen, regardless of the season. Parts of Saguaro National Park don't provide a lot of shading, so you can get overexposed to the sun even during winter.

When hiking during the summer and early fall, pay extra attention to where you’re walking. Rattlesnakes are common in the area, and while they usually give a warning that you’re coming too close, it’s not always the case.

Lastly, if you are camping near Saguaro National Park with a pet, don’t leave your furry friend outside. Coyotes and large cats are known to prey on people’s pets.

camping near saguaro national parkPhoto Credit: Instagram User @worldtravel.bug

RV Rental for Saguaro National Park

The next time you’re ready to hit the road for a fun family vacation, consider Cruise America for your RV rental needs. There’s no better way to see the land than from the view of the open road, allowing you to experience all the hidden gems that would be missed by taking a flight to a destination.

A Cruise America RV can serve as your home away from home on the road, giving you the freedom to see what you want and when. Come browse our RV selection today and let us help you plan your next unforgettable family trip.