Even with a near miss by Hurricane Odile it seems this year’s monsoon season has brought bountiful gifts to the Sonoran Desert. This past weekend I ventured into Saguaro National Park and up Tanque Verde Ridge to gain a 360 degree view of the lush desert basin. Although the summers can be harsh in the desert, the rainy season makes it worth while.
If you happen to be in the Tucson area in the Fall, Winter, or Spring I highly suggest this scenic (yet mildly strenuous) hike. Let’s just say that you earn your views and it is definitely worth every step. Although I only had time to make it up to Juniper Basin this time around, I hope to hit Manning Camp after the weather begins a its cooling trend.
Here is a great map of the trail provided by Saguaro National Park: Tanque Verde Ridge Trail
From downtown Tucson follow Speedway Blvd. East bound to Houghton Road. Turn right and go 3 miles to Old Spanish Trail then continue another 2.8 miles to the entrance of Saguaro National Park. Stop at the toll booth to support your National Park ($10 for a week pass or $80 for a yearly pass good at any National Park for $80). After passing the toll booth, turn right and head towards Javelina picnic area. The trailhead is located near the start of the loop.
Pack enough water for yourself for the day (and maybe a little extra). As I mentioned, the trail can be strenuous and you won’t find a water supply along the way.