Where to See Saguaro Cactus in Phoenix
So, you've made it to Phoenix — naturally, you want to see a saguaro cactus for a solid selfie or perfect photo op. This desert flora is one of the most iconic symbols of the American Southwest, and it's important to experience one up close. Luckily, you can find saguaro cactus just about anywhere you go in Phoenix, whether you're in the city or out on a hike.
Check out some information about the saguaro cactus and what makes it so unique below, as well as the best spots to find a saguaro cactus while you're in Phoenix.
What to Know About Saguaro CactusBack to Top of List
What to Know About Saguaro Cactus
The saguaro is one of 51 species of cactus that are native to Arizona, but it is undoubtedly the most well known. You may have seen one in a Western movie set in Texas or New Mexico, but chances are the filming actually took place right here, because the cactus can only be found in the lush Sonoran Desert of Arizona, as well as our southern neighbor state of Sonora, Mexico, and in some areas of southeastern California. Here are some other fun facts about the saguaro cactus:
Saguaro cactus are massive — but they grow slow. Saguaros reach over 50 feet tall, and can grow as many as 50 arms, or branches. But the saguaro cactus only grows about a foot a year, and it won't grow an arm until it ages at least 50 years. Saguaros tend to live anywhere between 150 to 200 years. Some of these cactus don't ever grow arms. If that's the case, it's called a "spear."
It's illegal to damage or harm a saguaro. There are some exceptions, but interrupting a saguaro's natural growth is prohibited in Arizona. If a saguaro gets in the way of construction, a special permit is required to transport and plant it somewhere new.
The saguaro produces fruit and flower blossoms. The saguaro blossom is the official state flower of Arizona. The cactus blooms in the springtime with beautiful flowers on the tops of its spear and arms, accompanying the wildflowers that pop up in the Sonoran Desert every spring. Almost every desert animal — including birds, bats, tortoise, javelina and coyotes — enjoy the bright red fruit, which has a mild sweet flavor. Arizona's native peoples, including the Tohono O'odham, Pima and Seri, used every part of the cactus for food and tools. The fruit is still used today to make things such as jams, syrup and wine.
Don't touch the saguaro! This might be obvious, but the saguaro is covered in extremely sharp spines. These spines act as leaves would on a tree or bush, absorbing sunlight and catching rainwater. They are known to be as sharp and strong as steel needles, and can injure both animals and humans. So when you're taking your photo, look, but don't touch!
Hotels & AttractionsBack to Top of List
Hotels & Attractions
If you want to see plenty of saguaros, but don't feel like venturing too far from the comfort of the city, check out some of these hotels and attractions that have dedicated spaces to the majestic cactus.
This luxurious resort boasts its own cactus garden, which is home to more than 250 species of succulents and cacti, including the saguaro. The garden spans the northern edge of the resort grounds at the base of Camelback Mountain, and during holiday season, the plants are accompanied by festive lights. You can schedule a tour with The Phoenician's resident horticulturist, or just take a walking tour by yourself.
CIVANA's focus is all about enhancing your mind, body and spirit with a variety of activities and spa treatments, including a saguaro garden. The garden winds through the property and ends in a labyrinth, where guests are encouraged to walk and focus on mindful meditation. You'll find plenty of saguaros and other desert plants, such as agaves, palo verde and mesquite trees.
One of the most popular attractions in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden is your one-stop shop for all things Sonoran Desert and cactus. The 140-acre garden features 50,000 plant displays and almost 500 rare and exotic desert plants. Among these are nearly 1,000 saguaros, some of which are more than 50 feet tall. Take the Desert Discovery Loop Trail to get a good look at some of the saguaro cactus, as well as permanent and seasonal art installations.
The Arizona Center is home to several restaurants, offices and shops, but it's also the only place to find a saguaro in downtown Phoenix. If you're attending a meeting at the Phoenix Convention Center, or staying in one of downtown's hotels, make sure to stop by for a quick photo with our favorite saguaro, Prickles.
Other Hotels & Resorts with Saguaros: