Location : The trail for Tanque Verde Ridge is located at the Javelina Picnic Area off of Cactus Forest Scenic Drive. To get to the trail head a visitor has to get either a one-day pass ($5) or a year pass for $20.
The hike: Tanque Verde Ridge is one of the flagship hikes in Saguaro National Park.. It is possible to hike all the way to Manning Camp 15 miles from the Javelina Picnic Area. There is also a back country camp at Juniper Basin with a seasonal spring. The first half mile to mile the trail climbs to the spine of Tanque Verde Ridge From here it follows the spine of the ridge to Juniper Basin, Tanque Verde Peak and finally Manning Camp.. In the foothills of the Rincon Mountains the vegetation consists of Saguaros, prickly pear and Ocotillo. As hikers keep ascending the views open up every direction with the high peaks of the Rincon Mountains to the south and the Catalina Mountains to the north. At 5000 feet vegetation becomes more Bear grass and Lechugilla. After 3.5 to 4 miles of hiking Franak and I stopped to eat lunch at a rock outcrop with 360 degree views. This trail is beautiful but there is very little shade so if you are going to hike during the summer hike early in the morning. Total mileage was about 7-8 with 1500 feet of elevation gain. (Information from Hiking Arizona's Cactus Country by Erik Molvar.