Many of us have driven out Old Spanish Trail as far as the entrance to Saguaro National Park East.
But some aren’t aware that continuing on Old Spanish Trail beyond the park entrance leads into the expansive, scenic Rincon Valley.
Drive 10 miles or so into the valley and you’ll pass big vistas of the Rincon Mountains, diverse plant life from cacti and trees to wildflowers, and an outlying unit of Saguaro Park with a network of trails.
You’ll also pass some housing developments built in recent years, and it’s important to stay off private property along the way.
Fortunately, it’s possible to take in the scenic view from the car or at brief roadside stops here and there.
Tall saguaros poke up from hillsides and sometimes frame views of distant Rincon Peak.
At this time of year, you’ll likely see lots of yellow brittlebush flowers and perhaps bright pink blooms of the hedgehog cactus along the road.
Watch also for the large white and yellow blooms of the matilija poppy, commonly known as the fried-egg poppy because of its appearance. Along the way, drivers pass the site of the Rincon Valley Farmers and Artisans Market, with a sign indicating that it’s open on Saturday mornings.