A couple of weeks ago Patrick and I decided to hike to Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro National Park East. Most people don’t realize that there are two Saguaro National Park “districts” in Tucson, one to the east of the city and one to the west. The hike follows Douglas Springs Trail and then veers off to reach Bridal Wreath Falls for a total of 6.2 miles roundtrip. It was a pretty easy hike, especially after all we’ve been doing lately, and many people were on the trail with us.
The parking lot here is very small for the amount of hikes that are offered, and people begin parking on the street early in the morning. We got lucky and found a relatively close space along the street. Douglas Springs Trail takes you to the Douglas Springs campground in about 12 miles roundtrip, but we cut our trip in half by turning back at Bridal Wreath Falls.
After those first ~0.75 miles we began our climb, and this is where the hike becomes “moderate.” The trail is quick and steep at places, and we along with the other hikers took several breaks. The first part of the climb looks over east Tucson for some beautiful views; after passing over a ridge however, the views toward the city are much more sparse.
The halfway point came relatively quickly, and after that the climb continued, albeit at a more gradual rate. I’d guess that most of the ~1000-foot elevation gain occurred in 1.5 miles of the hike. After it evened out again, we had a bit further to go until the trail split and took us to Bridal Wreath Falls. Once we got to the falls, I immediately wanted to try something new with a camera filter, and almost walked headfirst into a squirrel. No harm done, it didn’t run away; the size of the squirrel indicated that it was clearly used to humans.
Once the squirrel realized we weren’t going to share our food, it moved onto some other hikers and we took our first good look at the waterfall.
I feel like I keep raving about all of the natural water you can find in Tucson, and it’s because I’ve never realized how much there is to find in the wilderness out here! I think these falls are running year round, but we got lucky and hiked the day after a moderate rainstorm (remember, good for desert waterfalls), which was followed by clear skies and warm, but not hot temperatures.
From the first waterfall (shown above) we climbed up to eventually reach two twin falls, and a bit higher than that is where we stopped for our snack. The best way to climb higher is to start on the lefthand side of the falls – you can see where thousands of people have climbed before you. These waterfalls are reminiscent of Seven Falls; they just seemed to continue the further up you climbed.
After climbing back down we stopped for just a few more minutes to check out the back of the waterfall, which you could reach without getting wet.
The hike back was quick going downhill. With all of our breaks, and our climbing adventure at the falls, we took about 4 hours roundtrip.
Bridal Wreath Falls has now become another highly recommended hike in the Tucson area. We’ve gotten lucky with our choices so far. If this continues, I’ll have to go back and redo the rating system to be a little more picky! Stay tuned, a trip to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is up next!