The Bridal Wreath Falls Trail is one of the best hikes in east Saguaro National Park. It’s well-maintained and offers picture perfect views of Catalina Mountains, Rincon Mountains, and the Tanque Verde Valley.
Along the way, hikers will get to weave in and out of stunning Saguaro Cactus plants, enjoy native fauna, and take a dip in a desert waterfall.
Quick Facts About the Bridal Wreath Falls Hike
- Total Distance: 5.7 miles (out and back)
- Estimated Time: 3 hours
- Elevation Change: 1,095 feet
- Difficulty Rating: Moderate
From Tucson, head east on Speedway Boulevard Exit #257. After 17.4 miles, the road comes to a dead end at the Douglas Spring Trailhead.
Here you’ll find a small paved parking lot with space available for about 20 cars. On the busiest weekends, additional parking is available along the roadway.
A National Parks Pass or entrance fee is required for parking.
There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead, but there are garbage cans and a few shaded benches to relax on before your hike.
Starting The Hike
The hike begins at the popular Douglas Springs Trailhead in the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park.
Several hiking paths branch off the trailhead such as the Garwood Trail, Wild Horse Trail, and Three Tank Trail.
This path also leads to the Douglas Springs Campground for those who want to spend the night under the stars.
The first half-mile of the trail is relatively tame with flat to moderate terrain that is well-maintained. During this time, you’ll pass by many mature Saguaro Cacti and perhaps even see some desert wildlife!
The area is wide and flat which makes it easy for families and small children to navigate.
You’ll quickly pass by junctions for the Garwood Trail, and Wentworth trails.
0.5 miles into the hike, the pace really starts to pick up. From here, hikers will begin their climb into the foothills of the Rincon Mountains.
Over the next 1.5 miles the trail gains nearly 1,000 feet over short, steep accents and rocky stair steps.
Along the way, you’ll pass by every imaginable cactus. Mesquite and creosote bushes surround the path.
As you reach the top of the steepest climb, views of the Catalina and Rincon Mountains come into view.
You can look across the Tanque Verde Valley and enjoy the endless desert landscape.
About 2.5 miles into the hike, you’ll come to the junction between Ernie’s Falls, the Douglas Spring Campground, and Bridal Wreath Falls.
If you have time, we highly recommend taking a side-trek to Ernie’s Falls as well which will add about 1.2 miles to the hike.
At this point, bear right. The path to Bridal Wreath Falls is only about 0.3 miles away.
You’ll notice the uphill climb get shallower and shallower as you cross over a creek before concluding at the falls.
The last 100 yards of the hike will have you navigating smooth boulders and there are some larger trees for relief from the sun.
The entire hiking path is absolutely gorgeous, especially during the spring when the foliage is greener and everything is starting to bloom.
Take your time to catch your breath and really appreciate the mountain views along the way.
The Best Time To Visit Bridal Wreath Falls
Bridal Wreath Falls is a seasonal waterfall, so it will only be flowing after significant rainfall or during snowmelt in the early spring from the Rincon Mountains.
For the best chance to see water, visit during the monsoon season which runs from mid-July to September. Or in the early spring.
In the wettest part of the season, water cascades 25 feet down before pooling in the rocks below. This is the perfect place to off and enjoy the view.
Climbing Up Bridal Wreath Falls
When Bridal Wreath Falls is flowing, the most adventurous travelers can climb up the left side of the cascading water to get a view from above.
From above the falls you can enjoy other picturesque pools as well.
The Hike Back
Take your time to enjoy the desert vegetation along the way. Look out for barrel cactus, cholla, and saguaro.
The trail back feels much more gradual and pleasant so you really get to enjoy the terrain in Saguaro National Park.
Bridal Wreath Falls is a popular trail so in the comfortable months you can expect to see a lot of other hikers. Fortunately, the path is wide and well-marked which is perfect for families.
The entire out and back hike should take about 3 hours including time spent at the falls.
If you want to take an alternate route back, we recommend returning on the Three Tank Trail which will intersect with the Wildhorse Trail and lead you back via Garwood.
What To Pack
Unfortunately, shade is minimal on the Bridal Wreath Falls Trail. So you’ll want to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and carry plenty of water.
It’s recommended that you carry 3-4 liters of water per person on this trail.
We recommend that you start this short hike early in the morning because it can get hot in the middle of the day.
What To Do After
After a long hike, it’s best to relax and enjoy other parts of the park. We recommend doing a scenic drive around the Cactus Forest Loop. It’s the best scenic drive in Saguaro and located nearby the trailhead.
Perfect For Families
The Bridal Wreath Falls trail is great for families who don’t want to head off on the most strenuous adventure.
This trail has a wide, well-maintained path that is easy to navigate.
You’ll see plenty of hikers along the way and lots of gorgeous mountain views as well as mature Saguaro Cacti.