Hittin' the Trails 4 You

Sep 16, 2011 9:10 AM

Hittin' the Trails 4 You: Saguaro National Park's Cactus Forest Trail

TUCSON - The Cactus Forest Trail within Saguaro National Park East has a few starting points. One of the trailheads is just off Broadway Boulevard.

It's a classic desert ramble; flat and sandy with plenty of desert flora. You'll see plenty of prickly pears, cactus flowers and of course, towering saguaros. One rare type of cacti along the trail is the crested saguaro. Out of 250,000, only one takes on the fanned top.

Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as the antelope jackrabbit and several bird species.

Another feature going for the Cactus Forest Trail: the lime kilns. They're about 2.6 miles away from the Broadway Trailhead, but it's a shorter hike if you start at the parking lot off Cactus Forest Drive in the park.

About a mile after the parking lot, you'll reach the lime kilns. These date back to the 1880's and are a big part of Tucson's history. Local hiking guides like Betty Leavengood say these kilns operated until about 1920, supplying the Old Pueblo with lime used on the rock wall surrounding the University of Arizona.

A slice of the past, found on the front range of the Rincon Mountains.

To see the Cactus Forest Trail Map, click here.

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