Our last hike in Arizona before heading back to Albuquerque was a perfect ending to our wonderful winter getaway. On the northwest side of Phoenix, the White Tank Mountains were a short drive from our motel. The regional park, like the others we have visited in Arizona, charges an entrance fee, but it is well worth it. Trails and facilities are top notch and well maintained.
We started our exploration on the Waterfall Trail, a short one mile out and back trail, which was paved for most of the way. Of course, we didn’t expect to see any water falling down the mountain, although there was a small pool at the base of the waterfall. What we did see was a lot of other walkers, but we were in and out before the big crowds arrived.
We drove further into the park and stopped at one of the parking lots with access to several of the trails. Most of the loop trails were longer than what we were prepared to do. Looking at the map we decided to do an out and back on the Mesquite Trail, knowing we couldn’t get all the way to the top but we would do what we could.
I was surprised when we got back to the car to see that we had done 6 miles with a 1000 foot elevation gain on the 3 miles up. The trail was so well constructed with switchbacks and good solid footing that it didn’t seem difficult at all. Or maybe it’s that we have gained some additional hiking muscle after 15 straight days of hiking every day!
Besides well maintained trails we enjoyed the views and being able to see more of my favorite Arizona classic, the Saguaro Cactus. We couldn’t have asked for better weather— no wind, sunny skies and high 60’s. There were more hikers than what we usually encounter on hikes in New Mexico but plenty of room for everyone to enjoy being out in God’s wonderful creation.