“A pleasant trail through Saguaro National Park to a seasonal waterfall area.
— Mike Barcom
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
A long option if done as a complete out-and-back but a beautiful stretch that you can turn around on from any point based on time and energy.
The Wildhorse Trailhead is located about 400 yds from the end of Speedway Blvd. Generally, there are horse trailers there or horses and riders from Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. This is a shared trail for a good portion, and horses always have the right-of-way.
Typically, visitors use this as an out-and-Back, but it can be connected to other trails to make it a point-to-point ending at another trailhead. The trail signage is well placed and clear to follow the entire distance. There are a few washes you'll have to navigate, so be smart and aware of water or the possibility of lots of water depending on the time of year.
If you're lucky enough to be on the trail in the spring you'll be rewarded with an amazing palette of colors. After you come to an intersection of 5 trails follow the signage southeast to stay on the Wildhorse Trail. You'll begin to gain elevation and a series of switchbacks that are steady but easy to negotiate. Take your time to stop and take in the views as the Park presents itself to you. The views of the Catalina Mountains and the Tucson valley are definitely Kodak moments.
Soon you'll come to the Three Tanks Trail sign where you'll stay right. You'll lose the elevation you gained earlier on but then gain some of it back again. Continue following the trail another .4 miles to the last of the signs. This is the intersection of the Carrillo Trail
and where horse and rider are not permitted to continue on the Wildhorse trail.
You'll continue on about 0.3 miles to the end of the trail after a few switchbacks and rocky terrain. You'll come upon some smooth faced rock and depending on time of year, and your willingness to get your feet wet, a waterfall at the end of the trail.
Flora & Fauna
While the desert always has a beauty to it, the spring is especially rewarding in its presentation of color. The yellows of the Prickly Pear, Brittle Brush, Paper Daisy and the Palo Verde are amazing. The Oranges of the Apricot Mallow, the Reds and Purples of the Ocotillo, Cholla, Hedgehog Cactus, Fairy Dusters, Lupine and Verbena to the huge White blossoms of the Saguaro make you wonder why its called a desert.
The desert also has its share of reptiles, birds and mammals. If one takes their time, is patient and observant you may see, Rattlesnakes, Gopher snakes, Racers and a Gila Monsters. The Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawks, Kestrels, Owls, Quail and Doves all live in the park. If one is lucky enough, you may spot a Bobcat, Coyote, Mule Deer and lots of ground squirrels.