Bikes are permitted on the scenic drives in both districts; the Rincon loop was repaved in 2006 and features a bike-only lane, and bikes are allowed on a 2.5-mile stretch of the Cactus Forest Trail inside the loop. Roadrunner Bicycles, 6177 E. Broadway Dr. (tel. 520/790-9394; www.roadrunnerbicycles.com), rents road and mountain bikes as well as cruisers for $25 to $40 per day.
Horseback riding is permitted on most trails in both districts of the park, although horses are not allowed off-trail. Horses may be kept overnight in the backcountry campgrounds in the Rincon Mountain District. Manning Camp has a corral; at the other backcountry campgrounds, riders should secure horses with a picket rope slung between two trees. Get details from park rangers.
Wildlife Viewing & Bird-Watching
Both sections of the park offer abundant opportunities for wildlife observation and bird-watching. Because Saguaro East has a greater range of elevations, and therefore climates, you'll see a larger variety of animals there.
In both sections of the park, look for holes punched in saguaro cacti by Gila woodpeckers and gilded flickers. These finicky birds sometimes make several cavities before settling on one as home for the year. They always punch out a new home when they return the following year. The extra holes are taken over by other desert inhabitants, including cactus wrens, Lucy's warblers, and little elf owls.
Among other birds you're likely to see in both sections of the park are black-throated sparrows, brown towhees, verdin, brown-crested flycatchers, Costa's hummingbirds, roadrunners, mourning doves, white-winged doves, Gambel's quail, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks. In the eastern part of the park, you'll also see rufous-crowned sparrows, olive warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, solitary vireos, American robins, pygmy nuthatches, Steller's jays, mountain chickadees, violet-green swallows, broad-tailed hummingbirds, and Cooper's hawks.
Mammals commonly seen include desert cottontails, Harris ground squirrels, round-tailed ground squirrels, striped skunks, javelina, mule deer, and southern long-nose bats, which pollinate saguaro flowers while feeding on their nectar. You may also spot white-tailed deer in the higher elevations of Saguaro East. Reptiles commonly seen include zebra-tailed and western whiptail lizards, gopher snakes, and king snakes. In the desert and foothill areas, watch out for the many western diamondback rattlesnakes, which are poisonous.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.