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Good For Kids
For A Date
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The desert views are nice around sunset.
Freeman Homestead Trail - Saguaro N.P.
Closest available address
3693 South Old Spanish Trail Tucson, Arizona 85730
Park is open 24 hours, but daylight hours only for cars. Visitor center is open 9-5.
Best time to visit
Fall, Winter, Spring
The Freeman Homestead Trail is a 1 mile loop trail located in the eastern unit of Saguaro National Park. This dirt trail is easy but does have some steps in places. The trail passes through an unspoiled and quiet Sonoran Desert environment with excellent examples of the park’s namesake Saguaro Cactus. The trailhead is located on the 8 mile Cactus Forest Drive, which is a touring road with a number of stops, signs and viewpoints.
Saguaro National Park was originally a national monument, established in 1933 to protect the desert environment and the Saguaro cacti. The monument was expanded in 1961 with the inclusion of a protected area on the west side of Tucson. In 1994, the monument expanded again and became a national park. For a number of years the saguaro plants were not reproducing effectively either due to cattle and/or cold weather, but since cattle grazing was eliminated in 1979, the cacti have responded well.
The Freeman Homestead Trail was in good shape, with minimal brush and few rocks. There were a number of signs about the desert and plants, and the signs had sections for kids as well. The Freeman home is gone; it's been reduced to a pile of dirt that is barely visible. Other than the desert ecosystem and various cacti, the trail had little else to see or write about. Depending on how much time you have, there are many other trails in the park including extensive day hikes in the northeast section of the eastern unit. The eastern unit is approximately 67,000 acres, with large wilderness areas and 130 miles of trails. If you are looking for a longer more challenging day hike, the 5 mile Bridal Wreath Falls Trail is worth considering. Also, the 8 mile Cactus Forest Drive loop is a good complement to the trails since it provides more access to the desert environment and has additional short trails and nice views, especially later in the day. Note that Cactus Forest Drive is closed to automobiles and park gates are locked around dark.
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