Easy Hikes In White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

3 Short And Easy Hikes In White Tank Mountain Regional Park

The White Tank Mountain Regional Park sure holds some neat little hikes and beautiful views. While most visitors stick around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Scottsdale McDowell Mountains, I think the White Tanks are worth the drive if this is your 2nd or 3rd visit to the valley and you’re looking for something different.

This mountain range doesn’t hold any of the iconic Phoenix hikes but I still think they are worthy! If you are a local looking for some go-to hikes for before or after work, this post is definitely for you.

In this guide we’ll cover important park information and 3 short and easy hikes in White Tank Mountain Regional Park. I hope you’re able to find your next hike in this post!

Visiting White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Entry Fee | $7 entry fee or free with Maricopa Regional Park Pass.
Activities | Good for: hiking, backpacking, running, biking, and horseback riding.
Permits | Only for backcountry backpacking in established sites.
Camping | Tent or RV camping available in developed sites, fees apply.
Hours | November 1st – April 30th: 6am – 8pm daily, May 1st – October 31st: 5am – 9pm daily.
Dogs Allowed | Yes, very dog friendly park!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Phoenix valley- White Tank Mountain Regional Park lies on the far west side of the valley towards California and Nevada. The sun sets behind the mountain range every evening and can be seen from miles and miles away.

The park is full of outdoor recreation activities! There are trails for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and even for equestrian riders.

This regional park offers a variety of levels of trails for exploration. Some are rated easy while others can be connected to map out a difficult and rugged loop. This guide covers 3 of the short and easy hikes within White Tank Mountains.

Since these hikes are within the boundaries of the White Tank Mountain Regional Park you’ll have to pay the $7 entrance fee or showcase the annual Maricopa Regional Park Pass (worth the $ for locals).

3 Easy Hikes In White Tank Mountains

Now let’s get into the hikes! I’ve listed the 3 hikes below in order based on my favorites.

1. Black Rock Loop Trail

Black Rock Loop Trail- An Easy Hike In White Tank Mountains.

Hiking Distance | 1.30 miles
Difficulty | Easy
Elevation Gain | 60 feet

In my opinion the most scenic easy hike in the White Tanks is Black Rock Loop Trail. Here you have the option of hiking the Short Loop or Long Loop although I’d suggest the Long Loop if you can since it is still only 1.3 miles in length. It is stunning during both sunrise and sunset when the lighting is less harsh.

Black Rock Loop Trail leads you through and around a few buttes, all the way to the base of the mountain range. One of the perks of this trail is it hardly climbs any elevation! I clocked 60 foot elevation gain but it was hardly noticeable. The entire trail is dirt and rock but there are no obstacles that get in your way.

The park states there is evidence of a small village left behind from the Hohokam, a Native American tribe who lived in these mountains between 500-1100 A.D. While no sites are excavated or noticeable to the naked eye, if you have a trained eye you’ll be able to witness them for yourself. Leaving archeological sites filled in helps protect them from erosion, inclement weather, and vandalism. But, if you are skeptical about the history, check out Waterfall Trail, below!

Read the full trail guide: Hiking Black Rock Loop Trail In The White Tanks

2. Waterfall Trail

Hiking Distance | 1.5 miles
Difficulty | Easy
Elevation Gain | 238 feet

While the Waterfall Trail implies there is in fact a waterfall, don’t get your hopes up! This waterfall is seasonal and rarely flows. You have to visit at the right time or it’ll dry up quickly. But, if you are one of the lucky ones, it is a site to see!

Whether there is water flowing or not the Waterfall Trail is still visited frequently because it is a fun little trail especially for kids. The beginning of the trail is concrete and flat which makes it very accessible. Eventually the concrete ends and the trail turns to dirt, but there are benches nearby to sit and rest while the rest of your group continues to the waterfall ahead

To get to the waterfall area it’ll require hiking up a small series of rock steps and scrambling into the small canyon. It isn’t anything too difficult or technical and surely adds some fun to it for the kiddos.

Along the Waterfall Trail there are petroglyphs displayed on large rock boulders. There are signs pointing them out so you can’t miss them! These were left behind by the Hohokam and are absolutely amazing to witness. Please don’t touch approach or touch them, just view from afar so they can last for thousands of more years!

Read the full trail guide: Hike The White Tanks Waterfall Trail- An Easy Hike

3. Mule Deer Trail

Difficulty | Easy
Hiking Distance | 3.4 miles one way
Elevation Gain | 232 feet

The Mule Deer Trail received its’ name because, well, you guessed it- Mule Deer frequent this area and it is likely you’ll see a few while hiking. They typically move about early in the morning or before dusk. They’re harmless and keep to themselves so please don’t try to feed or approach them.

This hike doesn’t have an official “end of trail” it is more of a hike in as far as you’d like and then turn around kind of deal. Although if you’d like to hike further in mileage you can create a small loop and complete roughly 6.8 miles.

The trail leads you from the parking lots, up a little hill, then back down and levels out through some desert vegetation. It skirts around the base of the main White Tank Mountains, staying relatively flat the entire time. Along the way you’ll pass the Nature Center which is worth a little jaunt over to if you’re feeling up to it.

Read the full trail guide: Mule Deer Trail- An Easy Hike In The White Tanks

Tips For Hiking In White Tank Mountain Regional Park

  • If you’re a local definitely invest in the Maricopa Regional Park Pass so you can frequent these trails!
  • Have a map with you or download the Gaia GPS so you can always be sure to stay on trail and know where you are.
  • These mountains are full of wildlife- deer, lizards, snakes, bunnies, coyote, and certainly mountain lion. Stay aware as you’re hiking especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Pack layers when hiking in the winter months because the temperatures swing heavily! Early mornings and evenings get extremely cold, whereas midday is sunny and hot.
  • Avoid hiking in the summer heat. All of these trails are fully exposed to the sun!
  • Don’t forget to pack the essentials- plenty of water, a protein bar, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Visit 16 Expert Desert Hiking Tips You NEED To Know for more!

Final Thoughts: White Tank Mountain Regional Park

I’ll be honest I underestimated the White Tank Mountains for quite some time. It wasn’t until I moved to the west side of the valley and started exploring the hikes near me when I realized the potential. I am grateful to be 30 minutes from this park and frequent it often before and after work!

There aren’t many easy hikes in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park but there are different loops and variations you can do to mix it up from time to time. I especially love that it is so dog friendly!

Have you hiked any of these hikes before, or are they going on your bucket list? Share in the comments below!

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