Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bridal Wreath Falls, Saguaro National Park East

Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro National Park East made for a pretty lunch break on our 8 mile hike yesterday. This hike is described as strenuous and it was, plus we tacked on a few miles to make it a loop.

Some of the pictures are a little off due to the strange lighting we had from the clouds and I had something on the shutter for a while. BUT, even though we hiked during the "dead" winter season, the landscape was beautiful and we really enjoyed this hike. I bet this hike would be absolutely gorgeous in the spring as everything comes alive around you.

We parked at the Douglas Spring trail head at the end of Speedway Blvd. This is an access point for a lot of trails. We took: Douglas Spring out to Bridal Wreath Falls, then returned via Three Tank to Wildhorse to Garwood. Once again we thank Saguaro National Park for having very well marked trails. There were signs at every intersection and everything matched the map.

The trail is excellent dirt/decomposed granite surface and as you head up and up and up to the falls it is strewn with many rounded rocks. The ascent to the falls is pretty consistently steep for about 3.5 miles. As you ascend the views expand before you of the Tucson valley, Catalina Mountains to the North and the Rincon Mountains to the East (you are climbing the Rincon foothills). You pass by several water courses which were dry during our hike.

The last mile or so before you reach the falls you enter a high grassy plateau, the saguaros and other cacti become sparse, grasses and occasional creosote take over and a few junipers spot the landscape. The falls are a cool, lovely respite from the ascent.

To make this a loop we chose to return by Three Tank trail which dropped us down a canyon next to a (dry) water way. At this trail head we were warned of recent mountain lion sightings so we were hyper aware during this section.

Looking North towards the Catalina's. 

A crested barrel cactus!

The grassy plateau leading to the falls. Still some snow on the upper Rincon foothills.

The creek tumbles over boulders below the falls.

Bridal Wreath Falls

It would be easy for a mountain lion to hide in these grasses!

One of the dry stream beds looking towards Tucson metro area.

A very bright spot in our day!


  1. Lovely Cardinal!!! We need to get back over to Saguaro East, I see :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. Great hike! Love the crested barrel cactus.
    The fall was very nice. Good reward for all your efforts.

  3. Love the photos, especially those including the brilliant male cardinal! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I had never seen a crested barrel cactus, what a great find. Love those cardinals, they do make you stop on your track and admire.

  5. Thanks everyone! We really enjoyed this hike, lots of variety!

  6. We love hiking to waterfalls. This one is going on the list! Beautiful hike.