Danger at the Falls: First responders encourage hiker safety during Monsoon

Tanque Verde Falls
Posted at 9:35 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 12:35:06-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — You can't set out for Tanque Verde Falls without passing a large sign. It warns about the dangers of the beautiful hiking hotspot.

"Tanque Verde Falls is a very popular area. Between the Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue and Rural Metro Fire, we've had quite a few responses there," said Steve Ferree with Pima County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue.

The rush of the falls can intensify during monsoon and has led to a number of deaths over the years.

"A lot of times, people could be playing in a small amount of water, relaxing in the bottom of the canyon. Before long the rain in the mountains moves downhill and causes a flash flood type of scenario," said Ferree.

Ferree, and the rest of the Pima County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue team, have helped save countless lives.

"Depending on the situation, we do have helicopter resources that can get to you much quicker. Depending on the weather, that may not be an option and we'd have to hike into you. We obviously want to get into you as quickly as we can, but we also have to maintain our rescuers' safety, as well," said Ferree.

There are steps you can take to avoid a dangerous situation at the falls. Checking the forecast before your trip can be a matter of life or death.

"You always want to be aware if there is potential for rain. Know that if it does rain, there is going to be water flowing through there," said Ferree.

Hiking with others is always better than hitting the trails alone.

"Be prepared. Have water and a charged cellphone. Know what you're doing and where you're going. Have a plan in place if something bad happens," said Ferree.

Megan Meier is a reporter for KGUN 9. Megan graduated from Arizona State Universityʼs Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2018. While pursuing her degree in broadcast journalism, Megan interned at the City of Phoenix. Share your story ideas and important issues with Megan by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.