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Hike Arizona: White Tank Mountains
Ford Canyon Trail
Goat Camp Trail
White Tank Canyons

Guidebooks:
Freeman, Roger and Ethel, Day Hikes and Trail Rides in and Around Phoenix, (2nd. ed.), Gem Guides, Upland, CA, 2000.
Phoenix area trail descriptions are given to the nearest hundredth of a mile and illustrated on maps.

Ford Canyon Trail

Ford Canyon Trail: This wide path is lined with river rocks – placed there long ago by prison inmates. It is very easy to follow. There are a couple of junctions where convening trails make a hodgepodge connection. The path generally follows the edge of Ford Canyon and gradually angles up into a side canyon that starts displaying white granite bedrock tanks – the range's namesakes. These tanks contain varying amounts of water accumulated from previous rainfalls. The gradual climb along Ford Canyon brings the western part of Phoenix into view. The higher you climb on the trail, the closer you get to the main stream bed.

Take a walk over to the exposed granite and see if you can find any water in the tanks. Look for remnants of old rock dams and water catchment basins. Also look for stone fencing and small corrals, which are remnants of cattle grazing days. This will be the area where we will stop for lunch. We will return to the trail head via the route above.

Waterfall Trail: Leave White Tank Mountain Road at 1.65 miles from the entrance taking Waterfall Canyon Road to the left then a very short spur road. The trail leaves this branch road at a sign 2.0 miles from the park entrance neat the picnic ramada and comfort station #6. Total ascent 180'.
  • Length: 5.8 Round Trip
  • Elevation Change: +-900'
  • Elevation: 1500 ft.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Weather Conditions
Drive:

To reach White Tank Mountain Regional Park from Phoenix, take Interstate 10 west to Exit 124 (Cotton Lane). Turn north (right) onto Cotton Lane and go seven miles to Olive Avenue (Dunlap). Turn west (left) onto Olive, travel four miles to the park entrance. Follow the park entrance road (White Tank Mountain Road) to Ford Canyon Road and turn left and continue until you reach the Ford Canyon Trail sign. All roads are paved.
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Goat Camp Trail

Trail description:
Trail heads due west for approx 4 miles along Goat Canyon. We'll go as far as the antennas (2.5 miles) and then turn back. The trail starts at 1500', goes to 3150'. It is almost all uphill to the towers. Bring at least 2 liters of water, and a rain poncho or wind breaker. Part of the trail is in the shade.

Trailhead location: Goat Camp trailhead is just inside the park entrance off Black Canyon Dr.

Weather conditions: Phoneix.

Directions:
I-10 West to Cotton Lane exit.
North (right) on Cotton Lane to Olive.
West (left) on Olive to White Tank Mountains Regional Park
$3 entrance fee per vehicle.
Approximately 1 hour from Central Phoenix

Once past the ranger booth turn left at Black Canyon Dr. Take Black Canyon Dr. to the Goat Camp Trailhead. If the lot is full go to the next 'T' intersection, turn left and park at the first lot you come to. The lots are small but there are picnicking areas with lots all up and down Black Canyon Dr.

Notes:
  • Little shade on trail. best for fall/winter hiking
  • No water on trail, limited at trailheads
•  White Tanks home page
•  Maps
•  geology info

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updated December 23, 2009