Walk in the Park
The northeast corner of Saguaro National Park has a maze of trails that showcase the Sonoran cactus environment. I have hiked it for year's virtually alone because 90% of the hikes head up the Douglas Springs Trail. On weekends the Douglas Spring Trail can be single file hiking with the need for passing zones. My favorite hikes are any series of loops originating from the Wildhorse trailhead a mere 100 yards west of the Douglas Spring Trailhead. This is where all the horses enter the park, so usually there are a few horse trailers at the trailhead. The hikes out of this trailhead tend of be a flatter than the more vertical Douglas Spring trail, but can contain some of the same views.
The trail enters the park as a wide dirt path bearing to the left. Several trails intersect this main artery trail that can be added to the hike for distance and variation. Just keep going straight in the rolling desert to a large sandy wash. Follow the wash to the left about a quarter mile to steps leading out of the wash to the right. The steps will take you out of the wash. Follow the trail past more major intersections to the switchbacks. I usually cringe when I hear the work switchbacks in a trail description, but these are not bad. The trail had washed out and the Park Service spend a zillion dollars repairing the trail, the only way the government can. In this case my quads appreciated them spending the dough. As you reach the top of the ridge there is a great little canyon to the right with a seasonal waterfall. . As you top out turn around and enjoy the 180 degree view of the Catalina's and the Tucson valley. Here I always point out the Tanque Verde Guest ranch pink buildings to the north and Paul McCartney's house behind it. I knew I was getting old when I hiked this trail with a Boy Scout troop and one of the boys asked "Who is that?" The Beatles first wife went to the U of A and really liked it here and chose to die there... He very rarely is there; his second wife wasn't real keen on it.
At the next intersection the trail goes to the right down more steps into a smaller canyon and up and down a few more canyons and comes to the Three Tanks trail. It's 0.4 miles the Carrillo Trail junction. The trail continues another 0.5 miles to Wildhorse Tank.
5 Mile Loop: Take Carrillo Trail down to make it a loop hike up over the hill and begin the drop back down to the valley floor. Down a wide canyon with a large abandoned cement dam which was used by the original rancher to store water for there cattle operation. At the dam the trail follows the carved out access road and intersects two trails to the right. Take the second trail called Freight Wagon Trail . It wanders thought the desert back to the large wash and intersects the Wildhorse Trail near the trailhead.
Check out the Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
Most recent Triplog Reviews