Saguaro National Park, Arizona

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Saguaro National Park is located just outside of Tuscon in the Sonoran Desert. It is aptly named for the plethora of giant saguaro cacti, the nation’s largest cacti. Saguaros grow exceptionally slow, taking 50-70 years for the first arm to appear. They are considered mature at age 125, but can live up to 200 years old reaching heights up to 60 feet tall.

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The Rincon Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop for the variety of cacti, including staghorn cholla, fishhook barrel, prickly pear, and teddy bear cholla. Some of the cacti were in bloom during our visit, lucky for us.

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The park was established by Herbert Hoover as a national monument in 1933, and later became a national park in 1994. The area was inhabited by many native people before the arrival of the Spanish and westward expansion, including the Hohokam, Sobaipuri, Tohono O’odham, and the Apaches.

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