Goats in the Valley
Goat Camp is your southernmost entry to White Tank Regional Park's backcountry. Compared to its two counterparts, Mesquite Trail and Ford Canyon, it is the most strenuous, partially due to its rocky terrain. The reward after the climb up is a 3 mile, blissful stroll in the heart of the White Tank Mountains.
From the start of your hike, you are surrounded with classic desert scenery. Several large, rugged outcrops and the broad, tower-infested ridge of Peak 4018 paint the picture in front of you. Though it's tempting to look up, you'll want to watch your step frequently to keep from tripping. The trail crosses Black Canyon's wash just before mile marker one, and doesn't get any less rocky. Half a mile later, you'll pass under a couple mesquite trees to find a perfect rock bench on your left. Have a seat and take a breather. This is where things get fun.
The trail crosses the dry bed of Goat Canyon followed by several switchbacks before skirting along the slopes of the canyon for half a mile. During this 570ft climb, you'll have great views of the prominent, thumb-like outcrop to the north (I like to refer to it as the Goat Thumb), as well as some awesome cliffs to the south. There will be plenty of time to admire the beautiful scenery as you stop to catch your breath. You'll top out at a nice bed of sand and small dryfall, then do a quick zigzag up some boulders to reach the second mile marker.
The views continue as you enter a small valley. The once distant Peak 4018 looms above directly in front of you. While the rockiness subsides slightly, the climbing is yet to be over. Near the head of Goat Canyon, the trail bends to the north and begins a 220ft climb to the top of a ridge. Footing here can be loose, especially on the way down, so use some caution. The ridge makes for a nice destination, however, turning around here would be a big mistake.
The remaining three miles are the big pay off that makes up for all of your hard work. It is groomed to perfection wherever possible, and despite some minor ups, the majority of it is either flat or very gradual downhill. It's the perfect showcase with views east to the Valley of the Sun, numerous canyons, and the tallest peaks in the White Tanks. The best part is you won't be stumbling with every step you take, so go ahead and stare! When you reach the end of the trail, you can head back the way you came, loop around with Mesquite Trail, or do 11 more miles with Ford Canyon and Mule Deer for the complete White Tank Loop.
None on trail. There is a spigot at the trailhead.
The nearest camping is located in the park. See here for details.
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.
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.