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Tanque Verde Falls: A Hiking Guide

Tanque Verde Falls is a beautiful and popular hike on the far east side of Tucson. The biggest draw is the billowing waterfall at the end of the 1.8 mile trail.

Although the distance is short, the hike is typically rated as moderate due to a steady climb in elevation and a number of steep, slick rocks to navigate on the trail.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Where is the Tanque Verde Falls Trailhead located?

Drive east on Tanque Verde Road, toward Reddington Pass. Once the pavement stops and turns to dirt, watch for the trailhead parking lot on the left.

What are the hours?

There are no posted hours, but this hiking trail is best used from dawn to dusk during daylight hours.

Why would I visit Tanque Verde Falls?

  • To hike
  • To see an 80-foot waterfall
  • To swim and splash at the trail's end
  • To take photos with family members and friends

How much does it cost?

Admission is free.

Where should I park?

The Tanque Verde Falls trailhead has a small dirt parking lot. Be sure to arrive early on weekends and holidays as it does tend to fill up.

What is the length/distance of the hike?

Tanque Verde Falls is roughly 1.8 miles one way and is typically rated as moderate. There are many steep, slick rocks to climb and navigate, along with a steady increase in elevation. ***This trail can be dangerous - and even deadly - during and after storms. Watch the weather, walk carefully, and stay off this trail in the midst of thunderstorms as flash flooding can occur.***

How much time should I allot for this hike?

You can go as far as you and your crew desire. If you are aiming to complete the entire trail and arrive back at the trailhead, plan for about 2-4 hours.

Can I bike the trail?

No.

Is there water to play in?

Yes. The "main attraction" is an 80 foot waterfall at the end of the trail, but there are also smaller waterfalls, streams, and pools along the path - depending on the time of year and seasonal rainfall.

What should I wear?

We recommend:

  1. comfortable, closed-toe shoes or boots - waterproof preferred
  2. a wide-brimmed hat or visor
  3. light layers
  4. sunscreen
  5. sunglasses

What should I bring with me?

Bring plenty of WATER, snacks or a lunch, extra sunscreen, and a phone.

Are bathrooms available?

There are no restrooms along the trail or at the trailhead.

Which days are most and least crowded?

As is the case with most hiking trails around Tucson, the best time to go to avoid crowds is typically early on the morning on weekdays. Alternatively, you might try late afternoons - close to the dinner hour.

What is the best season for hiking Tanque Verde Falls?

The best months for hiking are October, November, December, January, February, March, or April when daytime temperatures typically range between 65-86 degrees.

That being said, the “shoulder months” (September and May) can also be quite pleasant if you check the weather ahead of time.

June, July, and August tend to be unbearably hot with temperatures sometimes hitting at or above 100 degrees.

All that being said, you can hike year round in Tucson if you watch the weather, hike early, and plan wisely.

What kinds of plants and animals might I see?

You may see saguaro cacti, rattlesnakes, javelina, jackrabbits, birds, lizards, Palo Verde trees, mesquite trees, and wildflowers.

DINING

Is outside food allowed on the Tanque Verde Falls trail?

Absolutely! As with all hiking trails, be sure to stow your trash in a backpack or pocket until it can be properly disposed of.

What restaurants are located NEAR Tanque Verde Falls?

Not many! Tanque Verde Falls is about 10 miles from most restaurants. Our top restaurant picks within a 12-mile radius are:

BABIES & KIDS

What ages would be best suited for the Tanque Verde Falls hike?

All ages - although young children may have difficulty in climbing rocks without assistance from adults. Be sure to take into account the fitness level of each member of your party.

Should I bring a stroller?

We would recommend a baby carrier instead. The trail is too rocky for a stroller.

What about my dog?

As far as we know, leashed dogs are permitted at Tanque Verde Falls.

TOP TIPS: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

What else do I need to know before I hike Tanque Verde Falls?

Here are some things to keep in mind before you go:

  1. Be kind and courteous to other people as you hike. Say hello with a smile.
  2. Keep the hiking trail clean and beautiful. Do not take anything (or leave anything) on the path or trails. Pick up and properly dispose of litter.
  3. Stay safe and be prepared. Protect yourself on your hikes with light layers, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and closed toe shoes. Bring plenty of water...more than you think you will need! Hike with a friend or family member, when possible. Always tell someone where you are going and for how long.
  4. Be thankful. Notice the blossoming flowers, the sparkling sunshine, and the fresh air. Arizona is a beautiful state to work, play, and live.
  5. Have a great time! Getting outside is always a good idea. 

* For other ideas of things to do around Tucson, be sure to subscribe to our FREE This Week In Tucson newsletter and to like TucsonTopia on Facebook.

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