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Saguaro National Park West and Old Tucson Studios

A Scenic Loop Drive with many side activities such as hiking, photography, educational and just plain fun.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 54.3 miles
Duration: Unknown
Family Friendly

Overview:  This Scenic drive will take you through Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park West. You will enjoy beautiful mountain/rock... more »

Tips:  No matter what time of year, drink plenty of water. Wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Be mindful of the harsh desert. Watch... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Start traveling East on Speedway blvd.

Of course since it is a loop drive you can jump in anywhere on the loop. This is probably the easiest beginning point to locate.

2. Int. Wildlife Museum

The International Wildlife Museum is about 5 miles west of I-10 at 4800 W. Gates Pass Rd (520) 629-0100. They have hundreds of preserved wildlife exhibits and is quite an educational opportunity. I would say it is a must if you have children with you on this adventure.

Gates Pass in the place where you are able to cross the Tucson Mountains going from the Tucson Valley to Avra Valley. It is so beautiful and quite a place for a Romantic sunset. Songs have been written about it. I even attended a sunset wedding there years ago. It is one of those places that photography just doesn't do it justice. Like the... More

Gates Pass Rd ends at Kinney Rd. If you are interested in going to Old Tucson Studios turn left(south) at Kinney Rd.
201 S Kinney Rd (520) 883-0100
If you are a western fan you will recognize some of the sets here. There is a range of activities for all ages here. And everyone loves a good gunfight(between actors)!
For more info go to http:/... More

5. Juan Santa Cruz Picnic Area

Coming from Gates Pass Rd turn right (northwest). The Juan Santa Cruz Picnic Area is just before you get to the Sonora Desert Museum. Toilets are available here. There are several picnic tables and grills available with very nice views overlooking Avra Valley. The hill just to the south of it is an access to the Brown Mountain trail which is a ... More

Continuing on northwest on Kinney Rd will take you to the Sonora Desert Museum. 2021 N Kinney Rd (520) 883-2702. It is a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, combined in one place. This is another activity for all ages and interest levels. Many educational and photographic opportunities here. For more information go to http:/... More

7. Red Hills Visitor Center

Continuing northwest on Kinney Rd after the Sonora Desert Museum. You will junction with Mile Wide Rd but continue to the Right to stay on Kinney. You will find the Red Hills Visitor Center on the right hand side of the road. Typical Visitor Center with exhibits, educational material, books and trinkets. Restrooms are available here. Also if ... More

8. Ez-kim-in-zin Picnic Area

Continuing on past the Red Hills Visitor Center going Northwest you will junction with Sandario Rd. Turn Right onto Sandario. You will immediately be going into a bend in the road, just as you are leaving the bend you will see a dirt road to the right. Turn right on Golden Gate Road. This is a dirt road that is quite rough but should be... More

9. Sendero Esperanza Trailhead

This trailhead is just across the road from the Ez-kim-in-zin picnic area. The 1st mile or so is very easy until you start to climb and then it makes up for it a bit. I still think it is the easiest route to access the top of Wassan peak though.
To continue the loop, continue north on Golden Gate road until it ends at Picture Rocks road. Turn... More

10. Picture Rocks Road

Continue winding east on Picture Rocks rd. Just after the pass the roads name changes to
Wade. This will intersect with Ina Rd. Turn Right onto Ina and continue traveling east to the interstate. You are now on the Nortwest part of Tucson. To get back were we started get onto eastbound I-10.

11. End