Tanque Verde Ridge

Tucson, Arizona 85747

Tanque Verde Ridge

Tanque Verde Ridge Professional Review and Guide

"A backpack from the Javelina Picnic Area to Manning Camp, 16.2 miles one way.

This trail offers a long, arid journey along the spine of Tanque Verde Ridge, which projects westward from the main mass of the Rincon Mountains. Views are sweeping along the entire route, and wildlife may be encountered at any time. Camping is allowed in designated sites in Juniper Basin and at Manning Camp at trail’s end. Backpackers who wish to stay overnight between these two areas can drop from Cow Head Saddle to either Douglas Spring, to the north, or Grass Shack Spring, to the south."

More Tanque Verde Ridge Professional Reviews and Guides

"A long day hike or overnight hike up Tanque Verde Ridge, the scenic spine of the Rincon Mountains, to Tanque Verde Peak. Special Considerations: Backpackers must have a camping permit, available for a fee from the Rincon Visitor Center in person or by mail On this hike, camping is allowed only at Juniper Basin Campground, where there is a seasonal spring. Don’t rely on this spring; carry plenty of water, especially during the hot summer months."

"A hike along a scenic ridge in the Rincon Mountains and Saguaro Wilderness in Saguaro National Park. The Tanque Verde Ridge Trail first heads southeast across the desert foothills, climbing onto the west end of Tanque Verde Ridge. Here, the trail swings northeast and starts a steady climb up this long ridge. The trail dips and winds around small hills and across small drainages, but always tends to follow the main ridge. At first, you will be in the saguaro cactus “forest.”

The national park was established to protect this unique and beautiful desert landscape, as well as its plants and animals. As the trail climbs along the ridge, the cactus forest gradually gives way to high desert grassland and pinyon pine–juniper forest. Saguaros are not tolerant of frost, so they disappear from the cooler north-facing slopes first. There are many points with good views of the Tucson area and its mountains along the lower portion of the ridge. As the miniature pinyon–juniper forest becomes thicker, views become limited. Permit: No off-trail hiking below 4,500 feet (the 2-mile point on this hike). Backcountry camping requires a permit; camping allowed only in designated wilderness campsites."

"Tanque Verde Ridge is the westernmost mountain finger pointing toward Tucson from the Rincons. As you climb it, views of all the other ranges surrounding the city open, and on clear days you can see into Mexico as well as many of the other minor ranges in southern Arizona.

Starting in lush desert vegetation, you’ll climb through grasslands and into piñon–juniper vegetation to the small Juniper Basin campsite."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
6,197 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Best October to May
Additional Use
USGS Tanque Verde Peak, Mica Mountain; Trails Illustrated Saguaro National Park Map; Rincon Mountains Hiker's Map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018