Douglas Spring Trail to Douglas Spring Campground, Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District: Douglas Spring Trailhead, Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Douglas Spring Trail to Douglas Spring Campground - 12.1 miles

Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District: Douglas Spring Trailhead

The Douglas Spring Trail rises above the Cactus Forest into Desert Grassland and Chaparral

The Douglas Spring Trail rises above the Cactus Forest into Desert Grassland and Chaparral

Round-Trip Length: 12.1 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,870' - 4,800'
Elevation Change: +1,930' net elevation gain
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Douglas Spring Trail to Douglas Spring Campground - 12.1 Miles Round-Trip

The Douglas Spring Campground is located 6.05 miles from the Douglas Spring Trailhead in Saguaro National Park. The Douglas Spring Campground lies in a shady, brushy plateau fed by seasonal springs.

Hikers will transition through 4 biotic zones (Desert Scrub, Desert Grassland, Chaparral and Oak-Woodland) en route to this popular campground and spring:

The Douglas Spring Trail heads east through a high concentration of saguaro, barrel cactus, prickly pear, ocotillo and various cholla.

The terrain is a combination of sandy wash and hard-pack dirt up to the Wentworth Trail split (.6 miles), past which it steepens into the rocky foothills of the Rincon.

The trail tilts sharply up to the Carrillo Trail split (1.1 miles : 3,120'), where it crosses then parallels a stone-slab wash up to the Three Tank Trail split (2.3 miles : 3,695').

Here grades moderates in a more isolated setting as tall saguaro stands yield to open hillsides, creosote, scrub oak and mesquite.

You'll reach the Bridal Wreath Falls spur at 2.5 miles (3,740'), an easy .6 mile roundtrip excursion. Seasonal flows account for abundant vegetation in this vicinity.

Grades steepen shortly past the falls spur deeper into the mountains; note the prevalence of manzanita as you progress in this more intense landscape.

Though rugged and undulating, there is only a modest net elevation gain on the final 2+ miles to the Douglas Spring Campground (6.05 miles : 4,800'). The trail continues another 2.4 miles to Cow Saddle and the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N32 14.120 W110 41.220 — 0.0 Miles: Douglas Spring Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • The Douglas Spring Trailhead is a popular destination wth limited parking. Arrive early to secure space and avoid crowds.

  • Be mindful of delicate vegetation and varied terrain; missteps and stumbles can be harmful to both plant and human. Rattlesnakes and scorpions inhabit this area. Remain on designated trails at all times, and never place your hands or feet where you can't see them.

  • The Douglas Spring Trail is fully exposed to sun and heat. Ample water and sun protection are essential on this longer hike into the backcountry.

  • Look for quail, roadrunner, javelina and jackrabbits at lower elevations. Higher elevations on the Douglas Spring Trail are home to deer, bobcat, mountain lion and even bear.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • A permit is required for all overnight backcountry stays in Saguaro National Park. There is a $6 fee per campsite per night.

  • There are 3 individual campsites at Douglas Spring. The maximum number of people allowed per site is 6. The maximum size of any one group is 18.

  • There are no guaranteed water sources in the area. Backpackers should plan to carry all of their own.

  • All water sources in the Saguaro Wilderness are intermittent streams or springs. In dry seasons, water is often unavailable. Do not rely on finding water at campsites. If you're exiting on the same trail you entered, consider caching water along the trail. This will ensure a source of water on your way out. Label water caches with your name and date.

  • Fires are not permitted at the Douglas Spring campsite.

  • A small population of bears inhabit the Rincon Mountains. Bear boxes are provided to secure food.

Directions to Trailhead

The Douglas Spring Trailhead begins at the end of Speedway Blvd. Travel east from Tucson to the end of Speedway Blvd. Parking is limited. Park only in designated spots.

Contact Information

Saguaro National Park Headquarters and Rincon Mountain District
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730-5601
520.733.5153

Saguaro National Park Tucson Mountain District
27 North Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ 85743
520.733.5158

Trip Reports

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