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Backpacker Magazine – September 2008

Secrets Of Saguaro National Park

The name doesn't say it all: Arizona's premier cactus preserve conceals a cool mountain escape.

by: David Pidgeon

Saguaro NP is home to 50 species of cacti. (Mark Lisk)
Saguaro NP is home to 50 species of cacti. (Mark Lisk)
Map by International Mapping Associates
Map by International Mapping Associates

SATURDAY
You'll spend this day filling your memory card with sweeping vistas of southern Arizona's craggy, copper colored mountains. In the morning, continue your ascent of Mica by following the Manning Camp Trail eastward a little more than four miles, passing through oaks and piñon as you climb toward the peak. At Devils Bathtub Trail, bear left and ascend steeply one mile to Manning Camp and a reliable spring. After watering up, grab an energy bar, ditch your pack (you'll camp here), and set out to explore Mica's broad summit on a network of short, interconnecting trails. It's an easygoing five-mile ramble to Spud Rock, Reef Rock, Mica Meadow, and Mica Secondary, each with unforgettable views of saguaro-filled valleys. Return to Manning Camp, the largest backcountry campground in the park, with six sites and a year-round water source.




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