19 Stunning Hikes with Waterfalls in Tucson, Arizona

Sabino Dam is one of the best waterfalls in Tucson, especially for kids.

There is nothing better than finding a beautiful waterfall while hiking in the desert. It is something about the sound of the water, the cool mist, and the temptation to swim that cuts the desert heat in half.

Below is a list of stunning waterfalls in Tucson with the hikes to get there. Most are seasonal, so Spring or late Summer are best. There are good opportunities during monsoon season, however be careful of flash flooding!

Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, especially when hiking in the summer.

Tanque Verde Falls – Our Favorite Waterfalls in Tucson

Tanque Verde Falls - The Best waterfalls in Tucson, Arizona
Tanque Verde Falls on a high-volume day!

Tanque Verde Falls is arguably Tucson’s most popular waterfall. It is located on the far eastern side of Tucson, just south of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area on E. Reddington Road. via Tanque Verde Road.

Its popularity comes from the beautiful falls and the short 1.8-mile hike that leads up to it that starts at Tanque Verde Falls Trailhead. The falls are almost always flowing, however early Spring and late Summer are the best times to see it in its full glory.

WARNING: While it is a popular spot for cliff jumping, be careful. Many people are injured each year that misjudge their landing or the water depth. Also, be careful of flash floods.

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Seven Falls

Seven Falls Waterfall is one of the longest waterfalls in Tucson
Sevel Falls at its best

Seven Falls is arguably one of the most popular hikes in the Tucson area. The Seven Falls Hike is located in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and starts off near Sabino Creek.

The falls are technically located in Bear Canyon, which parallels Sabino Canyon. The hike is relatively easy and starts by crossing Sabino Creek on Bear Canyon Trail and then head

Seven Falls empties into a pool, so be sure to bring your swimsuit!

Read More: Sabino Canyon National Park – 10 Stunning Hiking Trails

Hutch’s Pool – Best Waterfalls in Tucson for Swimming

Hutch's Pool is a great waterfall in Tucson for swimming
The mom-to-be and her friend wading in Hutch’s Pool

Hutch’s Pool was the last hike we did before our oldest was born. We were in Tucson visiting friends, and decided to fit in one last hike, pregnant mom and all.

The draw to Hutch’s Pool is mostly the pool, but don’t forget about the falls that are active year round on the end of the pool. And don’t forget your swimsuit!

Read More: Sabino Canyon National Park – 10 Stunning Hiking Trails

Romero Falls

Kids will love playing in the pools at Romero Pools and Romero Falls outside of Tucson, Arizona
View of Romero Pools and a small waterfall from above

Romero Falls is at the end of a 6ish mile hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Catalina State Park. The area is best known for Romero Pools, which is a series of pools that full almost year round.

Many visitors never leave the pools, however there is a set of falls a short distance up the canyon that are worth the extra hike. There are also some small waterfalls between each pool.

Also, when hiking, keep a lookout for a second set of falls. They are visible about 2/3 of the way up Romero Trail in Romero Canyon.

Read More: The Best Hiking in Catalina State Park

Sabino Dam – Best Waterfalls in Tucson for Kids

Sabino Dam is one of the best waterfalls in Tucson, especially for kids.

Sabino Dam isn’t technically a waterfall, but it is by far the best on this list if you are hiking with little kids. It was one of our favorite spots when our kids were younger. The hike has a couple of fun water crossings.

It is located in Sabino Canyon and is about a 15-minute walk from the Visitor Center and the trailhead parking lot on relatively flat ground. Furthermore, there is a large pool for kids to play, swim, and look for the “fools gold” that sits in the silt of the river.

Read More: Sabino Canyon National Park – 10 Stunning Hiking Trails

Bridal Wreath Waterfall

Bridal Wreath Falls, a waterfall in Tucson, on a warm, sunny day.
Slow trickle coming out of Bridal Wreath Falls

Bridal Wreath sits in the foothills of the Rincón Mountains in Sabino National Park (East, Mountain District) on Douglas Spring Trail. This waterfall is seasonal.

The coolest part is that there is a rocky overhand that creates a 20 foot waterfall. It is spectacular after heavy rains. The best part is that you can actually sit behind the falls! The hike is about 6 miles long.

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Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is a unique desert waterfall located in Esperero Canyon on the way up Mt. Lemmon. It is one of the less popular waterfalls in the area, which isn’t helped by the fact that the trail is often overgrown with desert grass.

The hike is about 6 miles each way and starts at the parking lot at Sabino Canyon and follows the Esperero Trail (which does not go up Sabino Canyon proper). Explorumentary has a great guide to the hike.

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Soldier Falls

Soldier Falls is a great hike to wonderful waterfalls in Tucson, AZ
The pool in front of Soldier Falls

Soldier Falls is a seasonal waterfall that is on Soldier Trail, an old road that was part of an abandoned prison off of Catalina Highway. The falls create a nice cutaway in the rock and have a small pool at the bottom.

The hike is in the Coronado National Forest, and part is in Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area. It is just under 6 miles long and strenuous.

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Sycamore Dam

Image from above of Sycamore Dam, a man-made waterfall near Tucson, Arizona

Sycamore Reservoir was originally constructed to supply water to the old prison camp (see Soldier Falls above). Originally, the lake was much larger, but flash floods have slowly filled it with silt. In any event, it is still a great day hike.

There is a nice spot at the ruins of an old pump house that is excellent for a picnic break.

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Maiden Falls

Maiden Pools is a popular hiking attraction in Tucson, Arizona
Maiden Pools

Maiden Falls, and Maiden Pools, are located in Ventana Canyon north of Tucson. Most hikers are interested in the pools, however you can also visit the falls as well.

There is a difficult route down the cliff on the east side of the falls. It is possible to down climb to the bottom and enjoy astonishing views of the 30 ft waterfall.

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Ernie’s Falls

Ernie's Falls is a great waterfall in Tucson, and it is close to Bridal Wreath Falls
Ernie’s Falls

Ernie’s Falls is located a short hike downstream from Bridal Wreath Falls (see above). It is a spectacular seasonal waterfall and is a shorter hike than visiting Bridal Wreath Falls.

The falls are narrow and drop into a small pool that is perfect for cooling off.

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Novio Falls

Novio Falls is a waterfall in Tucson, Arizona
Slow trickle coming out of Novio Falls

Novio Falls is located on the Butterfly Trail near Mt. Lemmon. The hike is only 2.5 miles each way. Unlike many of the desert hikes mentioned, the Butterfly Trail passes through a gorgeous pine forest with flora and fauna everywhere.

The falls drop down three tiers of solid rock. The best time to visit is in early spring, when the snowmelt fills the canyons with water.

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La Milagrosa Falls

The falls at Milagrosa Falls are some of the best waterfalls in Tucson, AZ
One of the small waterfalls at Milagrosa Falls

La Milagros Falls is accessed by the La Milagrosa Loop Trail near Sabino Canyon. The loop is 6.1 miles long and begins from Avenida de Suzenu Trailhead in La Milagrosa Canyon.

Enjoy a hike through a saguaro filled desert that crosses Agua Caliente Canyon to a set of four pools with just as many waterfalls.

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Seven Cataracts

Image: University of Arizona

Did you know that cataract is another word for a waterfall? And guess, what, this stop contains seven distinct waterfalls!

The majority of people only ever see the cataracts from the vista point on the Catalina Highway, and that is a shame. This hike really requires some gear and canyoneering skills, so make sure you do your research ahead of time! The University of Arizona offers a course for those without the skills or experience.

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Lemmon Pools

Lemon Pools is a fun hiking destination in Tucson

Lemmon Pools is definitely off the beaten path. It takes about 8 miles to get there, and the route is not well published. It can be a great experience if you are blessed with high water levels. The pools are well known for swimming and the waterfall is well regarded locally.

The hike takes you up Wilderness Rocks Trail on Mt. Lemmon.

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Chiva Falls

Chiva Falls is a wonderful waterfall in Tucson, AZ

Chiva Falls is a popular UTV destination, so watch out for our four-wheeled friends. It is located in Joaquin Canyon and only flows after heavy rain events or periods of consistent water flow.

It is access via Redington Road via some harrowing jeep trails. The total hike is 8.7 miles out and back and is relatively flat.

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Lime Falls

Lime Files is in Saguaro National Park East and is a shorter hike (voted Best Hike That Doesn’t Take All Day by Tucson Weekly) to a seasonal waterfall. The hike follows Cactus Forest Trail and has signage pointing towards Lime Falls. In total, it is under 4 miles.

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Espero Canyon Falls

Espero Canyon is a second waterfall at the bottom of Espero Canyon to the West of Cardiac Hill. While it is possible to bushwhack your way to the falls, this one is best viewed from the trail!

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Pine Creek Waterfall

Finally, on Palisade Trail there is a seasonal waterfall that is visible in the Spring. Near the vista at the end of the hike is a spot where you can see it over your left shoulder.

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