One of the great things about Tucson is that there are some fantastic places to walk. During the summer, the washes (dried stream beds for those of you from wet places) are pretty unbearable but now that the weather has cooled they are a great place to put in some miles. They are easy walks over flat terrain, but once you get up into the foothills you’ll run into some brutal (but fun) boulder scrambles. Most of the larger washes have open access and are used extensively by horseback riders, dog walkers, runners, walkers, and ATVs. It’s definitely not as strenuous as a mountain trail, but with the loose sandy soil you can work on some muscles that you don’t normal reach with a street walk. Throw on a backpack and you’ll get a decent workout. If you like running beaches then you’ll love the Tanque Verde wash.
The best place to access the wash is from Tanque Verde Loop or Wentworth, between Speedway and Tanque Verde Rd. The stream flows right over the road (when there is water) so you can just pull off the road into the stream bed and start hiking.
Normally, there will be water flowing as far as Tanque Verde Loop during the summer rains (July & August) and for a couple of months in the winter (February to April). This year has been pretty dry and we’ve only had water this far off the mountains for a couple of weeks, so it hasn’t been a great year for us amateur botanists and wildlife watchers. Still, if you are quiet, patient and lucky you may catch a glimpse of javelina, coyotes, bobcats, deer, or tortoises. 49ers Country Club has three coyote packs that I know of; a rogue male, two young males, and a pack of at least six of the canines. I’m surprised the rogue male is still alive as he had a leg injury and was looking pretty decrepit last winter, but Saja and I encountered him again a couple of weeks ago. You may even see the Arizona Ringtail Cat, but they are pretty skittish and I’ve only seen one that Saja managed to tree. Of course there is no shortage of birds and bird watchers in the Tanque Verde. You may encounter our family of Great Horned Owls, ravens, hawks, and any number of birds sporting orange, red, or blue coloring. (Sorry, but I’m too lazy at the moment to go look up their names)
So there you have it. If you are looking for a quick, easy hike and don’t feel like battling the crowds at Sabino Canyon and Mt Lemmon, or the wash board road up Reddington, then check out Tanque Verde wash.
© 2009, The Desert Dog Journal. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!