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Bridal Wreath, AZ

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Guide 36 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
2.8 of 5 by 19
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,751 feet
Elevation Gain 1,052 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,121 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.51
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
2  2019-05-11
Bridal Wreath Falls Loop
15  2017-07-31 SkyIslandHiker
6  2015-10-15
SNP Hike Bridal Wreath Falls
6  2013-11-02 BiFrost
5  2012-12-15
Bridal Wreath Falls Loop
5  2011-12-14 nicolelee
4  2011-01-02 Sarae
2  2009-02-21 leadhiker
Page 1,  2
Author Lizard
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 0
Photos 403
Trips 17 map ( 75 miles )
Age 39 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:20pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Rincon teaser
by Lizard

Bridal Wreath Falls is a cool little grotto tucked away in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains. To my knowledge it has not appeared in any guidebook, but it is far from unknown. On a winter weekend you will share this trail with more than a few people. Nonetheless, it is a pleasant hike and a nice change from the abundance of steeply vertical Tucson trails.

The Douglas Spring trail is your route into the backcountry. It starts in the low desert of the Tucson valley, quickly passing two junctions, where you bear left and stay on Douglas Spring trail. The trail then climbs up a hillside to meet a junction with the Carrillo trail. Bear left. The trail continues climbing into the Rincon foothills, gradually and easily. After dropping to cross a wash, the trail climbs up parallel to the wash, which still held some fall color when I passed in December. At the head of the wash, the trail finally moderates and strikes out across the large field. The vegetation has changed with the elevation, and the trail now cross large fields of grass and prickly pear. This was by far my favorite section of the hike. You are cut off from the city and surrounded by views of the Rincons and Catalinas. There is a great sense of isolation and wilderness to be found here, only a few miles from the the trailhead.

After passing a junction with the Three Tanks trail (bear left), you will come to a junction with the spur trail to Bridal Wreath Falls. Turn right here and follow this short trail as it drops into a tree-filled canyon and follows it upstream. Eventually you will reach Bridal Wreath Falls, where tall canyon walls guard a thirty-foot overhang. Water drops off the overhang and falls through open air to splash on the rocks below. The water was merely dripping when I visited, but I imagine that during a rain this waterfall would be impressive.

To return, you can simply retrace your steps back to the trailhead for a 5.6 mile hike. Alternatively, you could follow the Three Tanks trail to the Carrillo trail, then take the Carrillo trail back to the Douglas Spring trail. This alternative will add about 1.5 miles to your hike, but will take you through some different terrain.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2003-12-15 Lizard
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
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    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region related
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
Bridal Wreath
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Went out with the Tucson Trail Runners today. The goal was to make it to the top of Mica Mountain, which is ~27 miles round trip from the Douglas Spring trail head. I've only done this run once before, about three years ago, and do NOT have fond memories of it. That first time, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake, got torn up by the overgrown trail, ran out of water, and almost died from heat exhaustion (exaggeration, but it was rough). Today was the exact opposite experience. Michael Duer has cleaned up the trail a lot and it was in great condition, and it was way too cold for snakes to be out and about. It was overcast at the start but rain had moved out of the forecast, so I wasn't too concerned and started out wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The first few miles were very pleasant; I was moving at a good pace and enjoyed chatting with Ryan and some of the other TTR members I had just met. After Ryan and everyone else bailed on me at Douglas Spring Campground, things became less fun. A light rain started, which wasn't too bad, just chilly and persistent. As I neared Cowhead Saddle, the rain turned into snow. I had already mentally checked out of the run and knew I didn't have it in me to reach the summit under these conditions, but I still wanted to hit 20 miles. I continued past Cowhead Saddle for maybe a quarter of a mile until I lost patience with being pelted with snow and decided to log my extra miles down at a lower elevation. It snowed (and then rained) for another 8-9 miles and I eventually stopped being lazy and put on my long sleeve. I hopped over to Bridal Wreath Falls to see if it was flowing (just more than a trickle) and then added on another .7 to hit 20 just as I approached the parking lot.

I'm happy I got the miles in, but I'm pretty annoyed that the weather took such a turn. With very little training these days, I was feeling surprisingly strong on this run. I definitely had that last 7 miles in my legs, just not in my head (or in my choice of clothing). Mica Mountain - 2, Carrie - 0. :(
Bridal Wreath
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A hard climb up when you have 30 lbs of toddler on your back, but the falls were in full roar and it was well worth the hike. Except for the part where I sucked at creek crossing and got a foot wet. Absolutely recommend, just bring sunscreen and if the water's up, step carefully. :)
Bridal Wreath
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after it rained on friday, and on saturday morning, we headed out to douglas spring trailhead to see if we could see a good flow in bridal wreath falls. our answer: no. there was hardly a trickle. i've never seen it so dry. the trails were nice and moist without being muddy, though. i had never gone out on the series of trails that we hiked back; it was a nice change of pace to do this as a loop.
Bridal Wreath
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Wonderful way to start the New Year. One of my goals is to do more dayhiking, as I'll probably not have the time for as many nights in the backcountry. I just have to remind myself with little gem hikes like this that dayhikes are fun, too!

The frozen trickle was a nice surprise - sweating on the hills, literally freezing at the end!
Bridal Wreath
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Needed to get out on a hike and Wendy was up for one, too. There were lots of cars at the trailhead, as expected, but we really didn't meet that many others on the trail. We made it to the falls and checked out the icicles and other ice formations. The day had gotten quite warm, but I guess it stays cold enough in the sheltered grotto that things can stay frozen. There was a small trickle of water that was still making its way down from the overhang. We had our snack and then headed back the way we came, encountering more people and horses as we approached the trailhead. It was a fantastic day for a hike!
Bridal Wreath
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Ernie's Falls via Douglas Springs Trail
This was one of those spur of the moment, gotta work-out things, where I drove to the trailhead rather late in the day after holding down the couch most of the day procrastinating.

I had walked just a little up the over-populated Douglas Springs trail (the reason why I feel OK to hike alone here) when I recognized a shirt of someone I knew. What are the odds? Well, yes, indeed, it was my hiking buddy Belinda out for a similar stroll and we talked and found out that both of us had planned on going up to Bridal Wreath Falls. However, since we were together now, it became less risky to try something new.

When we were at the turn-off for Bridal Wreath Falls, we noted the new sign to "Ernie's Falls" and decided to try it. The sign is about 10 feet up the trail and in the opposite direction as Bridal Wreath Falls, but the mile markings on the signs were about 0.3 miles off (in the distances to the trailhead - and I'm relying on my memory from two months ago at the time of this posting). There was another sign just a half-mile away that put yet another figure in the mix, which would make this hike plus or minus an entire mile, depending on which sign you went with.

Belinda and I proceeded toward Ernie's Falls, with no clue as to how far the falls were from the sign (that wasn't marked). We followed the well-marked trail until we came to a fence, then we decided to go back a little bit to where we had seen a cairn, which we thought would mark the route to the falls. From that point, we bushwhacked on down to the roar of the water and we saw a beautiful falls that I will most definitely be going back to.

Note: I got about half-way to the falls turnoff when I finally took out my camera and noticed that it didn't have any batteries in it. Doh! So that's the story of why there are no photos available for this triplog.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Douglas Spring Trailhead
From I-10 & Speedway Blvd exit #257, travel East on Speedway Blvd 17.4 miles to the trailhead.

The final major crossroad will be Freeman and "Dead End" signs will begin to appear. The trailhead is a small parking area with a picnic able and ample signage at the dead end of Speedway.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 129 mi - about 2 hours 17 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 19.4 mi - about 41 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 272 mi - about 4 hours 23 mins
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