Saguaro West and Old Tucson

The western side of Saguaro National Park provided expansive vistas and great photo opportunities. Nearby, we took a trip back in time as we visited Old Tucson, the famed movie studio where more than 400 Western movies were filmed, and we learned more about desert life at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

While we were in Arizona, we moved around a little, trying to see as many things as possible.

From Cactus Country RV Park we had easy access to Saguaro East and Tucson.

Next, we spent some time in Las Colinas Motor Home and RV Resort, an adorable 55+ community in Elroy, Arizona. The vibe of this happy little place reminded me of the movie Cocoon, where everyone was young at heart and sweet as pie. We enjoyed sitting outside and soaking in the mild February sunshine, riding our bikes around the park, and witnessing peaceful sunsets, serenaded by birds.

From Elroy we drove into Phoenix just for the day. We payed a surprise visit to Jeremy, a dance instructor friend of ours who had moved there from Tennessee.

Farther South, we settled at Western Way RV Resort Park. The park was large and nice but it sure didn’t have the same sweet and friendly vibe as Las Colinas. However, it did have amazing sunsets! We used the park as a base for visiting Saguaro West, Old Tucson, and Tombstone.

Back in Saguaro National Park, we stopped by Red Hill Visitor Center before driving in. The visitor center has a great view of the park and a nice little shop (I had to get more of that yummy prickly pear candy!) with books, gear, and Native American products.

From the Gates Pass Trailhead we could see all the way into Old Tucson and Brown Mountain in the horizon.

We actually visited Saguaro West twice. The first time, David and I took a quick tour of the park then stopped by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a unique adventure: 85% of its activities can be enjoyed outdoors. The museum’s 98 acres offer a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. I enjoyed learning about the 13 types of hummingbirds buzzing each year through Arizona!

On our second visit to Saguaro West, we brought along our friend Valdir. We also wanted to visit Old Tucson, where famous movies like Bonanza, Three Amigos, Gunsmoke, and Tombstone were filmed. The movie studio was a theme park and tour guides spoke of the location’s history. We had a nice stroll back in time, petted the docile donkeys, then sank our teeth into a BBQ sandwich at Big Jake’s BBQ.

NOTE: Unfortunately, Old Tucson couldn’t stay in business due to COVID, but I hope that someday it will reopen to the public. You can read about its fate here.

Our next Wild West stop was Tombstone, situated about an hour and a half south-east of Old Tucson.

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