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The Sentinel

Saguaro and Pricky Pears

The Sentinel
© Miles Hecker



Access to the Sonoran Desert section in the Rincon Mountain district of the park is via the Cactus Forest Loop Drive. This eight-mile paved loop weaves among giant saguaro cacti in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains about 16 miles east of downtown Tucson.

The drive begins just past the visitor center, where you can see exhibits, consult the information desk, and check out the bookstore's collection. The Cactus Garden just outside the visitor center identifies desert plants. After about 2.2 miles on the one-way loop, you'll pass the road to Mica View Picnic Area on the left.

This shot was taken about 100 feet into the near the picnic area. If you choose to take a nature hike, or wander off the pavement for a better photo opp, I recommend taking lots of water and wearing good quality nylon long legged pants. The Sonoran desert is a harsh environment and most of the flora in it, protects itself from being eaten with sharp spines


Late afternoon in late winter or early spring is the best time day for this shot. The shot above was taken at the equivalent of a 28mm focal length lens on a full frame camera.


LENS: 28-70 mm on a full frame camera or a 17-40mm on a crop sensor camera


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Concepts: Saguaro, Sonoran Desert, Cactus, Focal length, Saguaro National Park, Length, Photographic lens, Mojave Desert

Entities: Mica View Picnic Area, Tucson, Cactus Forest Loop Drive, Cactus Garden, focal length, Sonoran Desert, Rincon Mountains, Rincon Mountain, Miles Hecker, Sonoran

Tags: Cactus Forest Loop, Rincon Mountain district, paved loop weaves, Sonoran Desert section, giant saguaro cacti, Mica View Picnic, picnic area, visitor center, better photo opp, focal length lens, good quality nylon, one-way loop, Rincon Mountains, Cactus Garden, sharp spines, downtown Tucson, information desk, desert plants, nature hike, Late afternoon, harsh environment, late winter, early spring, best time, shot, drive, miles, 28mm, foothills, equivalent, pants, pavement, Access, park, flora, bookstore, left, feet, exhibits