Summary: This trail follows one of the most topographically aesthetic ridgelines in southern Arizona. There are many good guidebooks that describe this hike in great detail. Most of the day-hikes that are described end the hike at Juniper Basin, which makes for a good strenuous day hike or an excellent camping site for an extended stay in the Rincons. From Juniper Basin, Tanque Verde Peak is another 2.1 miles, which adds another 4.2 miles (round trip) to an already strenuous hike. The views from the summit are spectacular, you will need both hands to count the number of prominent mountain ranges that are visible. During the summer months bring lots of water and be prepared for the heat. If you wait until the cooler months the hike will be notably less difficult.
Trailhead: From downtown Tucon follow Speedway Boulevard east to Houghton Road. Turn right and go about 3 miles to Old Spanish Trail. Go another 2.8 miles to the entrance of Saguaro National Park. After passing the toll booth, turn right and head towards Javelina picnic area. Near the entrance to the picnic area is where the trailhead is located. (Lat:32.16547 Lon:-110.72423)
Trail Guides for Tanque Verde Peak: Tanque Verde Ridge:
Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision (The Globe Pequot Press)
Exploring Arizonas Wild Areas
by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Saguaro National Park
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted 33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Thad on 12/9/2010
This hike is beautiful. I have done this hike in late december as an overnight backcountry trek as well as a recent dayhike to the peak and back. IF you have the will you can do it in a day if you get started early. Hydrate yourself well the night before and the minutes/hours before the hike and have plenty of water with you as well. Atleast a gallon and a half in hot times. Have fun on the hike the views are amazing and the solitude and 360 view from the top is stellar.
Reviewed by MGZimmerman on 5/9/2010
We hiked this trail back in 2003. We went up late in January & it was still blasted hot on the way up! The vegetation up top & the views were quite rewarding. We also ran out of water, but were able to get more from a stream up top. Getting back down would have been immensely more difficult without it. I'd advise folks to watch out for bears. We found fresh tracks near our campsite.
Reviewed by Munchi on 11/7/2009
A nice hike with great views of the city the entire way and a great 360 view at the top. Mentally exhausting, mainly because you cannot see the peak, trail seems to keep going and going. I prefer Rincon or Mica Mountain over this one.
Reviewed by MR on 6/16/2009
Took two gallons of water.. each were punctured by cactus covering the trail within the first hour. Views were beautiful but climb (especially the first few miles) and climate were brutal. Definitely allow plenty of time and start early, especially during the summer months.
Reviewed by KMC on 4/6/2008
Hiked this March 2008 and didn't realize how untravelled the trail would be. The only way we stayed on it at times was by following rock stacks and pink trail markers. A fun and challenging hike with a GREAT view from the top. The weather was perfect and it took us 7 hours at a pretty good pace. Watch out for cactus and agave plants!
Reviewed by Ken on 10/27/2007
I hiked up there solo in Sept., 1993 and decided to go back down the other side to complete a loop. Like many visitors to the summit, my signature was a month or more after the previous. The problem I encountered was that a forest fire some years before had left the trail severely eroded and quite difficult to follow (not cool). I was elated to get back into the trees again where there was no problem keeping on the trail. Down in the saguaros again, I came across a big green stock tank (cool). Right about then, I used up the last of my water. I eventually made it to the visitor center and drank until my stomach hurt. Luckily, I got a lift back to my car and was able to exit before they closed the gates for the night. Hoo boy.
Reviewed by HH on 4/30/2007
A good workout.
Reviewed by DRP on 3/16/2006
May be hard to get to for the next year, as the Cactus Loop in Saguaro National Park East is closed for paving. A very rewarding hike. The first part of the hike is actually some of the most interesting in terms of flora and fauna. Gorgeous saguaro forest, relatively undisturbed. Up above, the trail is exposed in many parts; hence, this is a hike I do mainly in the winter months. Bring plenty of water at any time of year.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Arizona Hiking, Arizona Trails, Arizona Hikes, Pima County Hiking, Pima County Trails, Pima County Hikes