Thursday, November 14, 2013

Douglas Springs Trail Saguaro National Park East November 10, 2013

                            A neat looking lizard

On Sunday I drove east on Speedway BLVD to the  Douglas Springs Trail head at the boundary of  Saguaro National Park East. This trail head is great because of its possibilities. Backpackers and long distance hikers can hike the Douglas Springs trail  to Manning Camp in the Rincon Mountains, a distance of 14 miles one way, as well as other destinations. Shorter trails are also available that require less elevation gain.  I would consult a map before planning a hike. To visit Saguaro National Park visitors need to buy a $10 pass.

The Hike: Today I am hoping to hike to Douglas Spring a distance of 12 miles (round trip) with about 2000 feet of elevation gain. The first mile or so is relatively flat as hikers travel through a classic Sonoran Bajada mixture of Saguaro cacti, Prickly pear and Palo verde. The next mile the trail climbs through a canyon with moderate elevation gain. At around 2.5 miles the Bridal Wreath Falls trail branches off on the right which is a popular destination for many hikers. (I would pay close attention to trail signs because there are at least four  other trail junctions in this section). The trail immediately gets allot steeper as it climbs farther into the Rincon Mountains. I would bring plenty of water because this section has absolutely no shade. The last mile to the camp is relatively flat with minimal elevation gain.  The views become good about four miles into the hike. I turned around close to Douglas Springs because I was worried about my water supply. First rule of desert hiking is pay attention to your water supply and bring enough of it to make it to your destination. Enjoy the photos of my hike.

                  Cool picture looking toward the Catalina Mountains

                  View from the upper part of the trail

               The Douglas Spring Trail flanked by tall grass

                           Looking toward the upper part of the Rincon Mountains