Desert Invasion - U.S.

Saguaro National Park

This unique desert, located near Tucson, Arizona, is home to the most recognizable cactus in the world, the majestic saguaro cactus. Visitors of all ages are fascinated and enchanted by these desert giants, especially their many interesting and complex interrelationships with other desert life. Saguaro cacti provide their sweet fruits to hungry desert animals. They also provide homes to a variety of birds, including the Harris Hawk, Gila Woodpecker, the Elf owl, and the Cactus Wren. Yet, the saguaro requires other desert plants for its very survival. During the first few years of a very long life, a young saguaro needs the shade and protection of a nurse plant such as the Palo Verde tree. With an average life span of 150 years, a mature Saguaro may grow to a height of 50 feet and weigh over 10 tons.
The Sonoran Desert is one of the most biologically diverse deserts on earth, receiving an average of 12 inches of rainfall per year. The park contains 50 species of cactus, as well as jack rabbits, kangaroo rats, mountain lions, javelinas, 100 year-old desert tortoises, rattlesnakes and gila monsters.
Numerous movies and television shows have been filmed in this area with these desert Saguaros as the backdrop.
Additional information
National Park Service information and maps
Additional information:
DesertUSA, including maps
GORP -Saguaro National Park
GORP - border areas describes biological diversity of desert regions
Pictures from
Topographical map from Map of area
Video from TravelRapidly



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(Photos copyright Fred Elbel)