Hike to Javelina Rock

    5.0
    7 miles 400 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

    Added by Chema Domenech

    This amazing hike leads you through a Saguaro cactus forest to an iconic rock formation. Climb to the top of huge rocks to catch the sunset at one of the best places in Saguaro National Park.

    Drive through the gate of Saguaro National Park and continue straight onto Cactus Forest Drive. The 8 Mile loop takes you around to Javelina Rock parking area. Take time to enjoy this drive, it offers great views of the park and opportunities to spot coyotes and other wildlife.

    About 7 miles into your drive you will begin ascending along a hill. Just after the top, you will see the Javelina Rock formation on your right. There is a parking area close to the rocks. There is a Javelina picnic area, but you want to park by the rocks and not at the picnic area.

    After you park, continue down the paved road on foot for 1 mile to the Cactus Forest trail head. Turn right onto the Cactus Forest Trail. This is your trail for the next few hours. The trail runs north for 2.5 miles to the north part of the Cactus Forest Drive. There are few trails and dry creek beds along the way that you can explore. Do not worry about getting lost here; you are in the middle of a big loop so you will end up by the road if do you take one of the side trails.

    This trail is easy with almost no altitude gain. This is classic desert scenery with thousands of Saguaro cacti along the way. Every cactus is unique and you will not get tired of looking at all the odd shapes, who knows, you might even find your twin cactus.

    Once you reach the road it is time to head back to catch the sunset. It may be the same way back, but I assure you will find things that were hidden on your way in. As the sun begins to set, the cacti cast super cool shadows on the landscape.

    Back at Javelina Rock start making your way to the top of the rocks. You will not need any ropes but be careful on your way up. There are a few huge rocks around that offer great places to sit and watch the sun disappear below the horizon. If you want solitude you will find it, but people are really friendly if you want to sit by them and share the view. The park closes shortly after sunset when the ranger makes his last rounds. You can usually stay until around twilight before they ask you to head out.

    Read More
    Photography
    Hiking
    Easy Parking
    Family Friendly
    Forest
    Picnic Area
    Scenic
    Wildlife

    Go Pro.

    We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more!

    Learn More

    Reviews

    Rate this Adventure

    about 4 years ago

    Short-cut to the trailhead?

    If memory serves me correctly, you take a right turn immediately after going through the ranger's booth, and drive approximately 1.5 miles to the Javelina rock T.H.

    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

    Stay Nearby

    Tucson, Arizona

    Under Canvas Tucson

    From $159/night

    Tucson, Arizona

    Molino

    Tucson, Arizona

    Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Cactus Ramada 1

    Tucson, Arizona

    Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Cactus Ramada 2

    Nearby Adventures

    Drive the Cactus Forest Loop in Saguaro's Rincon Mountain District

    5.0
    8 mi / 550 ft gain

    Drive the Scenic Loop in Saguaro National Park East (Cactus Forest)

    4.7
    8 mi

    Hike to Tanque Verde Falls

    4.2
    1.6 mi / 100 ft gain

    Camp at Molino Basin

    0 mi / 0 ft gain
    More Nearby Adventures