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One of the most popular and best easy hikes in Saguaro west is the Valley View Overlook Trail. It’s not my number one trail ever but I do enjoy it!
It’s great if you’re looking for views in Saguaro and if you like cool plants. But also, the whole park is great for anyone that really likes cactus and other plants. Like, so good.
I did this trail twice, once in the spring when it was cooler and again on the road trip with my parents in October. The first time we stayed at The Tuxon and it was very cute, the second time we were at the Comfort Inn in Marana.
If you want something hip and in the middle of both sides of the park but close to downtown, The Tuxon is a good choice. If you just want to be close to the west side of the park (the best side of the park), then the Comfort Inn is better.
Anyway, the hike. The hike starts out leading down into a wash you have to cross to keep going. If you want a little extra hiking, you can hike in this wash.
If you hike to the left (on your way in the hike, right on your way out) you’ll eventually end up at the Sus Picnic Area. I haven’t done that but I’m sure it’s a nice walk.
On the other side of the wash you’ll make your way up a hill, but it’s not steep or miserable. It’s a gradual incline with views of the park to your left.
It’s not a thrilling trail, but the scenery and plants along it are very enjoyable. Eventually you’ll get to the top and will have a sprawling view of the valley below with a bench to enjoy it from.
To the left at the top is a sort of view of the other side of the park. It’s a great, open view and you can see all the saguaros dotting the hill below you, which is pretty cool.
Both times we spent some time at the top, relaxing and enjoying the view before heading back down the way we came. It’s easier heading back since you’re going downhill.
I like this trail but now that I’ve done it twice, there isn’t much reason I’d want to do it again unless I was there with someone else who hasn’t done it. There are other things I would do instead, like the longer Hugh Norris trail.
But if it’s your first trip to Saguaro or the only chance you’ll have to visit the park, it’s worth the 45 minutes or less to do this hike.
National Park Goodies
- If you’re planning to visit three or more national parks within a year from your trip, definitely get the America the Beautiful pass. It will save you money in the long run if you’re going to more than three parks in a year. Buy the pass here.
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking on your trip, or even at home, check out AllTrails! This is my favorite app to find, keep track of, and track my hiking activity. And it’s FREE! Sign up here.
- This Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is a must-have. You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a National Park journal for all of the NPS sites (400+!) to keep track of your travels!
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
Where is the Valley View Overlook trail in Saguaro?
The Valley View Overlook trailhead is just 3.1 miles from the Mountain District Visitor Center on the west side of the park. From the visitor center, you’ll pass the Desert Discovery Nature Trail then turn right onto Hohokam Road, the dirt road that is part of the Bajada Loop Drive.
You’ll pass the Sus Picnic Area on the left, a small parking area for the Hugh Norris Trail, then see an even smaller parking area for the Valley View Overlook Trail on the left.
When you park, be sure not to block the road, it’s a tiny parking area with only room for a few cars. There is a sign marking the trail here.
How long is the Valley View Overlook hike?
It’s just 0.8 mile round-trip and takes 30-45 minutes for the whole thing, more if you spend time at the top or look at every plant along the way (who, me?). It’s a great short hike on the west side of Saguaro with good view payoff.
Is the Valley View Overlook trail easy?
Yes! It’s not paved and only has about 49 feet of elevation gain, so it’s not too tough. There is a bench at the top you can rest at and enjoy the view, too. The hardest part is probably the heat.
The second time I did this (late October) it was quite warm, in the high 80s and that made it harder so just be sure to bring a lot of water, no matter the temperature, but especially in hotter months.
Is the Valley View Overlook hike worth it?
Yes! I don’t know if it’s the best hike in the park, but it is a great easy hike in Saguaro and has a pretty good view for not so much effort. It’s a must-do if you don’t have tons of time in the park but if you have a whole day or two, other trails may have better views.
But even with a whole day, if you have a spare 45 minutes, this is a great way to fill that, or the Desert Discovery Nature Trail just because of how many plants are on that trail (SO MANY!)
Valley View Overlook Trail photo gallery
Have you hiked the Valley View Overlook Trail in Saguaro? What did you think of it? What’s your favorite view in Saguaro? Do you want to hike the Valley View Overlook Trail?