Phoenix Hike: White Tank Mountains

When you have time in Phoenix, you’d be crazy to not spend some of it hiking. One beautiful area to consider visiting is the White Tank Mountains Regional Park. It’s about a 35-minute drive from central Phoenix in Waddell, but it’s worth the trek. It’s an expansive park with opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, picnics, mountain biking and exploring.

Last time I visited the park was when I lived in Phoenix. Graham and I had hiked the Waterfall Trail after a rainfall, one of the few times you’ll actually see water flowing. This time we chose the 1.3-mile Black Rock Trail, which connects with the Waterfall Trail. You can do either the short or long loop, and walked the long option. You’ll be surrounded by barrel cacti, saguaros, and more desert flora. The hike isn’t too difficult, so anyone can do it. The park is also large enough that even though you share the trails with families, baby boomers, mountain bikers and more, you don’t feel too crowded, as you do on other popular mountains. You could spend the entire day at the park and feel entertained, refreshed and energized, which makes the visit well worth the $6 per car entrance fee.

Of course, there are numerous options for trail hikes. You can hike 8 miles or half a mile; it’s up to you and your desired level of exercise. Some trails also have markers that show archaeological artifacts or areas, which you should admire but never touch. (Don’t deface or take them home, either!) Just enjoy being outdoors in gorgeous weather (assuming you are visiting in the winter).

Be on the lookout for wildlife, rock stacks and desert flora as well. You will see many varieties of cacti, including the barrel cactus. whose curved needles Native Americans used as fish hooks. (I learned that neat fact on a park sign.)

Learn a lesson from the towering saguaros at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Stand tall and shine!

Have you visited White Tank Mountain Regional Park or Phoenix in general? 

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