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Wildhorse to Douglas Springs Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 2.8 (4) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A rolling, smooth singletrack loop with minor elevation gain and many loop options.


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Map Key

3.1

Miles

4.9

KM

Loop

2,850' 869 m

High

2,710' 826 m

Low

157' 48 m

Up

152' 46 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

5%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A relatively flat loop with lots to explore and options to extend the length for anyone who has energy left in the tank.

Overview

This loop is located close to the east side of Tucson with great views of the surrounding Rincon and Catalina mountains as well as the Tanque Verde area. There are also opportunities to see wildlife such as deer. The hike can be a little sandy in stretches early on, but overall this is a good, quick hike with many loop options and well-marked trail signs at every junction.

Need to Know

This route is slightly sandy in spots early on but it's shallow sand. The Douglas Springs trailhead can be crowded at least on weekends, and I think 90 percent of the people head up the Douglas Spring Trail. I saw or heard no one on any other part of the loop other than DS section.

Description

Park at the Douglas Springs Trailhead and hike 100 yards west back to the horse trailer parking area. Starting at the horse trailer parking, head west at the first intersection for a short distance on the Shantz Trail which starts almost immediately after entering the park boundary.

Once on the Shantz Trail, you'll pass the a junction with the Bajada Wash on your left, but keep going until you come to the Kennedy Trail. Take a left on the Kennedy Trail, and head in a general southern direction. After a couple intersections, continue straight on the Squeeze Pen Trail for a short distance before taking a left on the Bajada Vista Trail.

The Bajada Vista Trail is a short route offering views of the Sonoran Desert. You'll continue to climb gradually until you come to an intersection with the Wildhorse Trail and the Garwood Trail. Continue on the Garwood Trail.

From this point, it is pretty much a gradual downhill until you hit the Douglas Springs Trail. Take a left and then it's just a short distance to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Creosote, saguaro and other cacti, wildflowers, desert scrub brush, and mesquite.

Contacts

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Trail Ratings

  2.8 from 4 votes

#4530

Overall
  2.8 from 4 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#162

in Arizona

#4,530

Overall
38 Views Last Month
1,577 Since Aug 21, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

75%
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Photos

Looking south toward the Rincons.
Aug 21, 2016 near Tanque…, AZ
Intersection of Wildhorse, Garwood, Bajada Vista Trails. Trails are really well signed, just follow the arrows. A lot of life in the desert with the Prickly Pear, Cholla, Brittle Brush, Creosote, Palo Verde and Mesquite Trees all blossoming. The western end of the Catalina Mountains in the distance.
May 1, 2016 near Tanque…, AZ
Big cactus in Saguaro Wilderness
Apr 29, 2015 near Tanque…, AZ
Flowering mature and you Saguaros along the Bajada Vista trail.
Jun 7, 2016 near Tanque…, AZ
Flowering Saguaros, chollas, and prickly pear cacti.
Jun 7, 2016 near Tanque…, AZ
Typical trail in this area of Saguaro National Park
Apr 23, 2015 near Tanque…, AZ

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Check-Ins

Apr 8, 2020
Andy Helbling
Apr 14, 2019
Dave Leddy
Try to get on the trail before the horses do or you'll be avoiding horseshit and flies for parts of your hike.
Mar 17, 2019
Blake Buselt
10h 17m
Jan 5, 2019
Brad Strathman
The desert vegetation with the Saguaro cactus is abundant in the east region of the park. Lots of places to capture the essence of desert vegetation. 3.1mi
Jun 28, 2018
Erica Mater
Mar 23, 2018
Erika Fisher
Mar 23, 2018
Cyndi LaFrese
Easy but fun loop to see the park! 3.1mi
Feb 26, 2018
Matt Swanson