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Wildhorse Trail - Saguaro NP, AZ

Guide 30 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,728 feet
Elevation Gain 393 feet
Accumulated Gain 418 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.29
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
10  2019-01-24
Bridal Wreath Falls Loop
4  2014-10-05 BrettVet
21  2014-01-11
Tanque Verde Peak
32  2014-01-11
Tanque Verde Peak via Wild Horse Canyon
19  2013-02-12
Bridal Wreath Falls Loop
4  2012-07-07
Shantz Trail - Saguaro NP
9  2007-08-06 BrettVet
5  2007-08-05 BrettVet
Author BrettVet
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 40
Photos 335
Trips 48 map ( 525 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jan, Dec, Feb, Mar → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:34am - 7:24pm
Official Route
5 Alternative

Walk in the Park
by BrettVet

The northeast corner of Saguaro National Park has a maze of trails that showcase the Sonoran cactus environment. I have hiked it for years virtually alone because 90% of the hikes head up the Douglas Spring 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 to be 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 word switchbacks in a trail description, but these are not bad. The trail had washed out and the Park Service spent 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 Tank Trail. Then 0.4 miles to 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 largely abandoned cement dam which was used by the original rancher to store water for their 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 through the desert back to the large wash and intersects the Wildhorse Trail near the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-08-05 BrettVet
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One-Way Notice
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.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2020 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From anywhere in Tucson or I-10 go east on Speedway Blvd. through Tucson to the end of the road. The parking area on the right is the Douglas Spring Trailhead. The Wildhorse trailhead is 100 yards west back down Speedway.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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