where there's a willow there's a way
Fairly easy trail in the heart of the White Tanks that can be incorporated into a loop hike. The highlight of the trail is Willow Spring.
To reach--Willow Canyon is not immediately accessible from a parking area. To get to the start of Willow Canyon Trail, start from Ramada/Area 7 at the end of Ramada Way, which is the next road past the popular Waterfall Trail. Take Mesquite Canyon Trail west for 1.80 miles (718' aeg) to the junction with Willow Canyon.
At the Mesquite/Willow junction--Turn right at the signed junction to get on Willow Canyon trail. The trail immediately crosses a dry wash, then heads uphill. The trail is in good shape, and will gain approx 200' in the first 0.40 miles.
At this point, the trail levels off, and is pleasant walking for the next mile. There is a wash in the bottom of the canyon below you which frequently holds water, and mule deer frequent the area.
At 1.40 miles, you will reach the Willow Spring area. There will be the rock ruins of an old cabin on the north side of the trail, and the ruins of an old corral on the south side--there is old wire fencing, rock walls, and a metal water tank full of branches. Turn left at the corral, go through the opening in the fence where a gate used to be, and follow the distinct use path a couple hundred feet over to the spring. There is always water here, although the waterfall only flows after heavy rain. This is a nice spot for a snack break in the shade. Once done, head back to the trail.
If you are not making this part of a loop hike, there's not much sense continuing west for the remaining 0.30 miles of the trail to the Ford Canyon Trail Junction. Heading back to the trailhead from the spring would make for a 5 mile (2.50 miles each way) out and back hike. If you do continue west to the Ford Canyon junction, the remaining 0.30 miles will gain about 150'.
Once at the Ford Canyon junction, you can turn right (north) to complete a very enjoyable loop of Ford Canyon & Waddell trails. Turning left (south) allows you to loop back around to Mesquite Canyon, or if you want to put in a lot of miles, a loop with Goat Camp.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.