Thursday, December 19, 2013

Carrillo and Wild Horse Loop Saguaro National Park East December 15, 2013

                   The three hiking trails involved in the loop denoted by three different colors.

If you right click on each image and select "View Image." The image will come up in a different screen where you can see the full image. 

Location: The Douglas Spring Trail head is located at the end of Speedway BLVD in eastern Tucson. The Douglas Spring Trail gives hikers and backpackers the opportunity to hike into Manning Camp and other destinations deep in the Rincon Mountains. There are also many trails in the Cactus Forest which originate near this location as well. Consult a park map to plan a hike.

The Hike: Today I am connecting two trails in the Cactus Forest- The Carrillo Trail and Wildhorse Trails. This loop is approximately six miles with over 1500 feet of elevation gain. The first part of the hike is on the Douglas Spring Trail.  (For more information on this trail please consult my November 10, 2013 post). After 1.4 miles the Carrillo Trail exits on the right. The first quarter mile the trail is at the bottom of a wash and then it becomes extremely steep as it summits a small hill topping out at an elevation of 3500 feet. The views toward the Catalina Mountains and Rincon Mountains are stupendous at the point.  From here it descends to a junction with the Three Tank Trail. Stay on the Carrillo Trail until the Wild Horse Trail junction. Along the Carrillo Trail are magnificent Saguaros many with three or more arms. I returned by way of the Wild Horse Trail (black on my map). This trail is two miles long, easy to follow and gives great views of the surrounding mountains. My favorite part was the Bajada Wash area where I saw beautiful riparian desert vegetation and two Jack rabbits.

                      Sonoran Desert vegetation with the Catalinas in the background.

                           View from the summit of the Carrillo Trail

                              Dead Saguaro. I think they are majestic in a morbid way.

                                       Bajada Wash on the Wild Horse Trail

                              Saguaro with many arms.

                                                     Desert jack rabbit