|Hiking||5.00 Miles|| 3 Hrs || ||1.67 mph|
|900 ft AEG|| || || |
The day I hiked this trail was perfect. Late October is a great time to explore this range. This is probably the second most popular trail in the park, second to the Waterfall trail. However, this trail requires some effort to complete.
The trail climbs pretty much all the way to the Willow Canyon junction. It starts out with a moderate climb and then starts to switchback up the mountain. A nice Mesquite tree greets you at the top of the first set of switchbacks (yes, they do exist on this trail - hence the name). After a few minutes of relief the trail again starts to switchback up the mountain. Shortly after the second switchback ends you encounter the junction with Willow Canyon trail.
On this day I decided to continue on the Mesquite trail. From the junction the trail remains fairly flat for a while as it takes you deep into the White Tanks. After a short while you are met with two strenuous climbs. Whoever made this trail gave up on the switchback concept and went with a straight line. The first climb is the one labeled "dangerous" on the park map. It's not too bad, but the trail is made up of loose rock so be careful. I had my son in the kid backpack on my back this day so this climb seemed tough.
At the top of the first hill is a nice resting spot. I was able to grab some shade from the sun by setting up next to some large boulders. After a short snack I decided to head back since I'm still breaking in my son to the whole riding in the backpack deal.
Overall I liked this trail. These mountains are nice. The high desert vegetation is more enjoyable than that of the Estrella mountains. The views of the city are great since this trail climbs in elevation significantly. The only wildlife I saw was really and insect, a huge tarantula (see pic) on the trail. I'll be back soon to reach the springs.