Forum Login

Saguaro Sunset

Firery Sunset

Desert Samurai
© 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.

Many photographic opportunities present themselves within 100 feet of the paved road. There is a pullout at the high point of the loop, about 5.2 miles out, that is ideal for a magnificent desert sunset shot, if the cloud conditions are present.


Late afternoon at sunset in late winter is the best time day for this shot. The high Cirrus clouds are a must for the firey glow. The shot above was taken at the equivalent of a 30mm 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

FILTERS: 2 stop soft split ND filter


Filed Under:  

show page metadata

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

Entities: Tucson, Cactus Garden, Sonoran Desert, Rincon Mountains, Rincon Mountain, Miles Hecker

Tags: loop, Cactus Forest Loop, paved loop weaves, visitor center, Rincon Mountain district, desert sunset shot, Sonoran Desert section, giant saguaro cacti, Mica View Picnic, focal length lens, high Cirrus clouds, one-way loop, Rincon Mountains, Cactus Garden, paved road, firey glow, downtown Tucson, information desk, desert plants, Late afternoon, photographic opportunities, cloud conditions, high point, late winter, best time, miles, drive, pullout, 30mm, equivalent, foothills, Access, park, bookstore, left, feet