Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop
The Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop is a moderately difficult 11.3 km hike in the north end of Saguaro National Park East. This route heads uphill through the rugged desert to a delicate cascading waterfall and loops back around through a gorgeous expanse of desert foothills. If you can time this hike to hit the falls when they’re running (early spring and post-monsoon tend to be best for this).
Part of this hike is consistently uphill on rocky mountain steps. While it won’t feel that challenging for fit hikers, beginners or younger hikers might find this trail to be on the difficult side of moderate. Bring plenty of water, consider bringing poles, and get your hike in before the heat of the day hits.
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Route Description for Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop
The Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop is one of our favorite loops in Saguaro National Park East. Some will find this route challenging, others will feel comfortable with its sections of steady incline, but no matter where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll likely want to revisit this beautiful trail again in the future.
The main attraction on this loop is Bridal Wreath Falls. The route to the falls is consistently uphill and there are rocky “steps” built into the slope to help you up, but you can negate that climbing by going counterclockwise and descending the steps. There are users who are firmly in camp counterclockwise and firmly in clockwise, so the best guidance we can suggest is to go clockwise if you’re keen on seeing the falls first and okay with more climbing. If you dislike descending steep steps, go counterclockwise.
Bring plenty of water for this adventure. You’ll be out in the sun for the vast majority of the hike and it can be unforgivingly hot in this region.
We enjoy this hike even when the falls aren’t running, but of course, it’s best when they are. Late winter, spring, and post-monsoon give you the best chance to enjoy them at their best.
No dogs are permitted on this trail.
We will describe the route clockwise (falls first). From the trailhead, you’ll take Douglas Spring Trail east. There’s a brief warm-up over flat ground, but once you approach the mountain, the grade picks up. This trail is lined with saguaro, prickly pear, ocotillo (especially beautiful when in bloom), and cholla.
Climb up the steps that ascend the hill. At the first junction on the hill, stay left to cross a creek bed. It may or may not be wet. At the next junction, stay left again. Shortly thereafter, you’ll reach a 4-way junction. Take the trail furthest to your right. This is the Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop.
It’s only about 0.3 km to the falls from this junction. There is signage here to show you the way. You’ll need to navigate over a few rocky steps to get to the falls. If they’re flowing, stop and admire this lovely little place for a while. If they’re not, you’ll probably still enjoy the scenery quite a bit.
From the falls, backtrack to the junction of Douglas Spring Trail and Three Tank Trail, going left onto Three Tank Trail. Continue on this route until you descend through a set of switchbacks, then prepare for a multi-way junction soon after. You’ll be taking a right into Garwood Trail.
On Garwood, head back towards where you parked, staying left at the final junction to return to your car.
Hiking Route Highlights
Bridal Wreath Falls
Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro National Park East is a rare desert waterfall that supports a variety of wildlife in this arid location, including javelina, coyote, and deer. The trail to the falls is very popular, and hundreds of hikers visit each week to see the massive saguaros that line the path and the gently trickling falls at the midway point. The falls tend to be at their best in early spring and after summer monsoons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there water at Bridal Wreath Falls?
Hiking in early spring or after a monsoon gives the best chance of seeing the falls flowing.
Are dogs allowed on the Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop?
No, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
Do I have to pay to hike the Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop?
No, there is no fee required for this hike.
Insider Hints for Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop
- This route, particularly the stretch to the falls, can get busy. Consider a midweek visit to have more of the trail to yourself.
Getting to the Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop Trailhead
The trailhead for the Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop is at the end of E Speedway Blvd.
Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop Elevation Graph
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Douglas Spring, Bridal Wreath Falls, and Garwood Loop Reviews
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