Hiking Trail Recommendations
Freeman Homestead Trail (1 mile)
Wander down this path to the site of an old homestead foundation, a grove of large saguaros and a cool desert wash. Great Horned Owls can often be seen in the cliff above this wash. Interpretive signs concerning the history and plant life along the way will take you deeper into the meaning of this "home in the desert". These signs also feature special exploration activities for youngsters.
Loma Verde Loop (3.8 miles, 60 feet elevation)
From the trail head take the Loma Verde Trail north through a grove of mature mesquite trees. Beyond a seasonally flowing wash (pictured), you'll climb a bluff onto the bajada, the Spanish word for a gravel plain at the base of a mountain. Pass the Loma Verde Mine, and take a right on the Pink Hill Trail. A short spur trail leads to a fine overlook of the cactus forest and Tanque Verde Ridge. Take a right on Pink Hill Trail, then turn right on the Squeeze Pen Trail. You will then take a left on the Loma Verde Trail and head back to the trail head.
Hope Camp and Ridgeview Trail (2 miles, 400 feet elevation)
From the Loma Alta trail head, take the Hope Camp trail for one-tenth of a mile until meeting the Ridge View Trail. This area was an old homesteading road and used to drive cattle to a line camp. Take a left on the Ridge View Trail, which begins to climb shortly after the junction. Views of Rincon Peak (pictured) begin after a brief slope, which only increase as you go up in elevation. Towards the end of the trail, incredible panoramic views and brilliant seasonal wildflowers fill the hillside. The trail ends at the top, which shows an incredible view into Box Canyon, a major drainage in the park. Waterfalls can be seen on the ridge during wetter times.
Garwood Dam and Wildhorse Tank (6.4 miles)
From the Douglas Spring trail head, continue until you take a right on the Garwood Trail (.2 mile). You'll enter the kind of cactus forest that inspired the creation of this park in 1933. Stay on the Garwood trail until you hit the Carrillo trail, and take a left. A steep section will lead to the Garwood Dam, built by Nelson Gardwood in the 1950's. Continue on Carrillo trail through a series of switch-backs until you start to get beautiful views on a ridge in the foothills. Beyond the ridge, you will intersect with Wildhorse Trail. Turn right to go on a steep (.3 mile) trail to Little Wildhorse Tank, one of the only perennial areas of water in the park. Continue back (right) onto Carrillo trail until you reach the steel tank. Continue down the wash and take a left out of the wash, still on the Carrillo trail. This section has incredible views of the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north. Finally, turn left and head down the Douglas Spring trail, bringing you back to the trail head.
Tanque Verde Ridge Trail (Distance and Elevation Varies)
This trail is certainly what we would describe as a strenuous trail. The views and seasonal wildflowers are certainly worth the hike up! From the Javelina Picnic area, start on the trail. At the .75 mile mark, you are up on the ridge and are able to see south, west, and north at multiple other mountain ranges and the Tucson Basin. A crested saguaro (at mile 2.5) is a unique view, as well as "the Dome" (a large exposed surface at mile 3) offers even more breath-taking views. This trail continues to Juniper Basin Campground (6.9 mile mark, 3000 feet elevation) as well as Tanque Verde Peak (8.7 miles, 4000 feet elevation).
Saguaro West (TMD)
Wild Dog Trail (1.8 miles)
Take the Valley View trail to the Wild Dog trail. This trail ends at the junction of Golden Gate Rd. & the turnoff to Signal Hill picnic area. If your group has hikers & non-hikers, the hikers could be dropped off at the beginning of the trail while non-hikers drive around the loop & pick them up at the end or at Signal Hill picnic ground. The Signal Hill road adds 0.5 miles to the hike.
King Canyon/ Gould Mine Loop (2.4 miles, 380 feet elevation)
Take the King Canyon Wash trail up the sandy wash bottom between the canyon walls to the junction & return via the King Canyon trail (an old mining road). There are several rocky "stair-step like" sections in the wash bottom. Also due to moisture, there may be bees present.
Sendero Esperanza Trail to the Ridge/ To Wasson Peak (3.4-8 miles, 220-1600 feet elevation)
Take the Sendero-Esperanza trail to the Hugh Norris trail junction on the ridgeline. The first mile is relatively flat, but quickly ascends up switch backs (220 feet elevation) towards the ridge. Great panoramic scenes of the valley come into view. If you're up for it, take a left on the Hugh Norris Trail towards Wasson Peak. This is the high point for the west side of the park, at 4,687 feet. Continue for 1.9 miles and take the spur trial on the left .3 miles to Wasson Peak. Enjoy the incredible scenery!
For more outdoor related activities and safety, please visit our outdoor activities page
Last updated: December 18, 2018