Saguaro National Park Feature

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Best Campgrounds in Saguaro

There's no drive-up camping in the park. All six primitive campgrounds are in the eastern district and require a hike to reach—the shortest hikes are to Douglas Spring Campground (6 miles) and to Happy Valley (5 miles). All are open year-round. Pick up your backcountry camping permit ($6 per night) at the Saguaro East Visitor Center. Before choosing a camping destination, look over the relief map of hiking trails and the book of wilderness campground photos taken by park rangers. You can camp in the backcountry for a maximum of 14 days. Each site can accommodate up to six people. Reservations can be made via mail or in person up to two months in advance. Hikers are encouraged to set out before noon. If you haven't the time or the inclination to hike in, several more camping opportunities exist within a few miles of the park.

Douglas Spring. Getting to this 4,800-foot-elevation campground takes a not-too-rough 6-mile hike up the Douglas Spring Trail. 6 miles on Douglas Spring Trail, off Speedway Blvd. No phone.

Grass Shack. This pretty campground is among juniper and small oak trees in a transitional area midway up Mica Mountain. 10.3 miles via Douglas Spring Trail to Manning Camp Trail No phone.

Juniper Basin. Vegetation here is oak forest, and the expansive views are worth the challenging 7-mile ascent. 7 miles on Tanque Verde Ridge Trail No phone.

Updated: 03-2014

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