The Valley View Overlook Trail is a short and popular trail that features iconic views of what one would expect in Saguaro National Park.

Hiking Valley View Overlook Trail

When thinking of quintessential views of roadrunners, coyotes, and desert views the Valley View Overlook Trail doesn’t disappoint. Located in the Tucson Mountain Distric of Saguaro National Park this trail features views that one would expect out of a Looney Tunes Coyote vs Roadrunner cartoon. The trail itself is an out and back 0.8 mile trail with very little elevation gain.

Saguaro National Park lies split with two distinct disctricts with the City of Tucson, Arizona in the middle. Covering over 24,818 acres, the Tucson Mountain District sits on the park’s west boundaries. The Valley VIew Overlook Trail is off an unpaved road called the Bajada Loop Drive. The main difference between the park’s two sides is that the western portion receives slightly less rainfall and sits at a lower elevation than the eastern Rincon Mountain District.

The particular trail will leave a good taste of what Saguaro National Park has to offer. The trail’s east views look down on Bajada Wash and Wassen and Amole Peak of the Tucson Mountains. To the west will be sprawling desert views as far as the eyes can see.  The trail culminates overlooking Avra Valley, the Silver Bell, Roskruge, and Waterman Mountains, and the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.

On A Personal Note:

This is a great trail for those with limited time wanting to experience some open views inside the Tucson Mountain District. There will be more than enough Saguaro and other varieties of desert plants to satisfy your needs. The right time of day or year could make wildlife opportunities include foxes, coyotes, road runners, and reptiles to name a few. If you’re looking for a short trail in the park, add this to your itinerary.

Have you done this trail recently? Please leave a comment about updates to the trail descriptions or trail pictures below.

  • Overall Difficulty: 20% 20%
  • Overall Views: 45% 45%
Valley View Overlook Trail Quick Facts:
  • Elevation: 2,562 feet.
  • Elevation Gain: 32 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 0.8 miles.
  • My Actual Distance: 0.8 miles.
  • Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes.
  • My Time: 28 minutes moving; 32 minutes total. 
Valley View Overlook Trail Directions:
Open in maps.  The trailhead is located about 3.5 miles north of the main visitor center to the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. There will be a short pullout off the Bajada Loop Drive with a small area for parking. Bajada Loop Drive is a dirt/sand road that loops five miles through the park. 

Overall the road is in generally good condition and passable even for most cars. The exception would be for those that aren’t lowered. I’ve read some things across the internet saying that you must have a four wheel drive in order to navigate this road. I highly disagree with those statements. Use caution during flash flooding events that could make the road difficult to travel through. 

Cost is the price of admission to the park. An America The Beautiful Pass will also work.

Valley View Overlook Trail Pictures:
Who Valley View Overlook Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: This is a great trail for beginning/non-hikers or for those groups with families. There is little distance and not much elevation gain. The terrain is very mild as well. On hot summer days the trail distance is short enough to avoid any prolonged heat exposure. This trail will also be good for those with mobility issues. 

Advanced Hikers: This won’t be challenging by any means but it’s a great introduction to some of the views that will be experienced from just about anywhere in the park. 

Expert Hikers: It’s a good trail to do that will make you feel like you at least accomplished something in this park as opposed to just driving through the loop drive. 

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.

Best Time Of Year To Hike Valley View Overlook Trail:
Winter and spring are the best times of the year to visit Saguaro National Park. The winter months can have cold nights, evenings, and mornings with mild days. The area does receive about a third of its annual rainfall during the winter months before the area dries out  during the spring. The spring months will feature wildflower blooms of many native plans. If you’re looking to catch the saguaro bloom, the best time is from April to June. 

Starting in May the days get hotter and hotter and lasts until mid fall. During the summer months it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach well over 110 degrees during the day with low temperatures in the 70’s at night. Sun protection and adequate hydration is a must during the summer. This trail is short but the sun could still be a factor. 

The summer is also Saguaro National Park’s rainy season. This time of year is the monsoon season where over half the annual rainfall occurs. Afternoons are greeted with unpredictable and regular occuring thunderstorms. Flash floods and lightning strikes can occur at any time. If you hear thunder, it’s best not to be out on the open trail and better to seek shelter. 

It’s always a good idea to check the weather before heading out on a hike.

Valley View Overlook Trail Conditions:
There’s not much to this trail as it is very straightforward. The hike begins at a clearly marked site with a small dirt parking lot. The trail immediately leads west from there through a beautiful desert landscape into Bajada Wash. If thunderstorms are present, Bajada Wash could potentially be troublesome during severe moonsoon events. Use caution if thunderstorms are present. 

After Bajada Wash the trail clims ever so slightly to the trails final viewing point. From here there will offer panoramic views looking out to the Tucson Mountains in the east. To the west will be views of Avra Valley extending out to the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.  

The trail is very well maintained and well marked. Stay on the path to prevent native vegetation that grows off the trail from getting disrupted. Avoid the nasty cholla cactus that grows near the path at all costs. The desert southwest is known for several species of rattlesnakes. Watch your feet and stay alert.