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Though the climate of Saguaro National Park is arid and unforgiving for much of the year, there are places where water flows, thanks to summer showers and mountain runoff.
One such place is Bridal Wreath Falls, a cascade about 20 feet high that freefalls into a shallow pool.
It does not flow year-round, but runs reliably following rain or snow in the Rincon Mountains, or with heavy monsoons in summer. Douglas Spring Trail leads to the waterfall, and along the way, traces other stony canyons where pools or streaming water can be seen.
The hike begins from a trailhead at the east end of Speedway Blvd, which is not within the entrance station at Rincon Visitor Center.
Only a modest sign and register mark the trail’s entry to the national park. The trail at first goes through a forest of saguaro cacti and mesquite shrubs on mostly flat ground.
Aiming toward an obvious rift in the ridge ahead, the trail eventually climbs some steps to get above the steep-sided ravine and overlook it.
If water flows below, then Bridal Wreath Falls is almost certainly running. The trail then winds up and down through the hills, on alternating sandy and rocky terrain, more or less following the obvious streambed and crossing often-dry washes.
Saguaros give way to palo verde and ocotillo as elevation increases.
Eventually, a flatter expanse is reached, and the trail comes to a 4-way intersection.
A right turn leads to Bridal Wreath Falls, with only a short rock-hop up its canyon.
Even if the waterfall isn’t flowing, pools may hold water.
The pools are never deep enough to swim, but wading is refreshing on a hot day.
It’s possible to scramble past the waterfall, using rock holds and tree roots, to find additional smaller cascades above. If Bridal Wreath is flowing, and you want to witness a second waterfall, another can be found nearby.
To get there, backtrack from Bridal Wreath to the 4-way and continue straight toward Ernie’s Falls.
In a little over half a mile, you’ll find it, another seasonal cascade with a shallow pool beneath. Sources: https://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/saguaro/douglas-spring-trail.html https://backobeyond.blog/bridal-wreath-falls-hiking-guide/