January 17 - 19, 2020

Douglas Springs Campground is only a few miles from Tucson, but everything seems a world away once you're out there. Please join me for this relatively easy two-night backpack in Tucson's backyard.

The Plan

We'll head out to the campsite late on the morning of Friday. There will be plenty of time to get there, so we needn't rush. We'll spend that night in camp, keeping our ears open to listen for the coyotes and mountain lions that live in the area.

On Saturday, we'll have breakfast then leave our camp and head up to Tanque Verde Peak. That's a ten-mile round-trip hike up through Cowhead Saddle to the peak and back to camp. Lunch will be on the peak.

Cowhead After spending one more night in camp on Sunday, we'll have a leisurely Sunday breakfast then pack up and head back to Tucson.

The Prep

This trip is planned for up to six people. I will reserve two of the three available campsites, if enough people are interested. The National Park Service charges $8.00 per night per campsite, so the total charges will be $32.00 for the group if we have two campsites.

You'll need food for two breakfasts, one lunch, and two dinners.

The Elements       Spot Forecast

There will probably be water at Douglas Springs. There may not be. It all depends on winter rains or snows, which flow and trickle down out of the mountains to replenish the springs. If the lack of water looks to be a problem, we may have to do a dayhike out to the campground the weekend before and stash water in the area. We'll figure that out closer to the date of the trip.

The weather at Douglas Springs in mid-January can be very nice. Daytime highs in the 60s with lows in the 30s. Remember that the campground is at 4,800 feet, so it's going to be a bit cooler than Tucson. Perhaps by as much as 10 degrees or more. You will probably need a colder weather sleeping bag. Use the Spot Forecast link above to get a reasonably accurate forecast for our two-night campsite at Douglas Springs. We are not allowed to have a fire at Douglas Springs.

The Hike

day miles elev gain destination
Friday 0.0 / 0.0 0 ft / 0 ft Douglas Springs Trailhead
Friday 3.1 / 3.1 900 ft / 900 ft Cut-off to Bridal Wreath Falls
Friday 1.8 / 4.9 700 ft / 1600 ft Lookout Rock
Friday 1.9 / 6.8 300 ft / 1900 ft Douglas Springs Campground
Saturday 2.4 / 9.2 1300 ft / 3200 ft Cowhead Saddle
Saturday 2.5 / 11.7 1000 ft / 4200 ft Tanque Verde Peak
Saturday 2.5 / 14.2 200 ft / 4400 ft Cowhead Saddle
Saturday 2.4 / 16.6 200 ft / 4600 ft Douglas Springs Campground
Sunday 1.9 / 18.5 300 ft / 4900 ft Lookout Rock
Sunday 1.8 / 20.3 200 ft / 5100 ft Cut-off to Bridal Wreath Falls
Sunday 3.1 / 23.4 200 ft / 5300 ft Douglas Springs Trailhead


The End

Once we arrive back at the trailhead, we'll get out of our boots and change to cleaner clothes. Before going home, we'll head over to the Saguaro National Park Visitor Center to deliver a water report.