Favorite summer morning hike
As a west valley resident this is one of my favorite quick summer hikes because I can be done with this hike before 9am and it gets too hot. This hike has a sufficient amount of up and down to be a little challenging and the scenery is pretty good. Willow Spring flows year around, although it is typically barely a trickle into a puddle.
This loop starts on the Mesquite trail for about 4 miles, jumps on the Ford Canyon trail for about a mile, returns on the Willow Canyon trail for about 2 miles and then comes back on the Mesquite trail for 2 miles. The Mesquite portion of the trail is the most challenging, with a combination of large rocks and loose rocks.
The trails is fairly well maintained and well marked. Trail markers signifying MQ=Mesquite, WL=Willow, FD=Ford, GC=Goat Camp. You will cross all of these trails at some point. The signs are pretty clear, although the distances don't appear to be correct.
Hike: Start at the parking lot and head directly west to the well marked trailhead. You will cross junctions with several trailheads in the first 1/2 mile while still on fairly flat ground. After that you will begin a nice climb that continues for about 4 miles. After 2 miles you will reach the junction of the Mesquite & Willow Trails. You can go left for Mesquite or right for Willow. It doesn't matter since it's the same loop either way. I usually go left on Mesquite. Continuing on Mesquite for about another 2 miles until you reach the junction of the Mesquite, Goat Camp & Ford Canyon trails. Go right on Ford Canyon trail and continue on it for about .9 miles until you reach the junction of Ford Canyon & Willow Canyon trail. Go right on Willow and continue for 2 miles until you reach the junction with Mesquite again where you will go left and continue 2 miles back to the trailhead.
Willow Spring can be found shortly after getting on the Willow Canyon trail. You will begin descending and will notice a spot with a significant man-made rock wall/fence and a large galvanized steel watering trough. The trail heads left here but if you go right a very short distance you will reach the top of the canyon and the spring/puddle. I usually find this a good spot to take a break and have some breakfast.
White Tank Park is a great place to see desert wildflowers bloom in the springtime. A couple of years ago, after a wet winter, there were flowers chest high, as far as you could see.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.