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Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop, AZ

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Guide 79 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.1 of 5 by 19
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,505 feet
Elevation Gain 1,738 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.7
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2018-03-28 RowdyandMe
28  2016-12-12 RowdyandMe
3  2015-05-09 missscooter
1  2014-04-18 PatrickL
12  2012-10-13
White Tank's Loop
54  2012-03-08 outdoor_lover
8  2011-12-18 johnlp
7  2011-11-22 PatrickL
Page 1,  2,  3
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,812
Trips 4,252 map ( 21,403 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:39pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hop-Scotching the Desert Valley
by joebartels

Overview: Goat Camp Trail → Mesquite Trail → Mesquite/Waddell Trailhead → road back to Goat Camp trailhead.

Hike: Trailhead signs warn this trail is for experienced hikers only. Glad I made the cut. I'm not saying the trail is a no brainer, but it isn't that tough. There is a couple indistinct areas along the way. Just pay attention and you'll be okay. Head out on the Goat Camp trail. From the beginning it's flat easy hiking. Look over your left shoulder and back towards the Estrella Mountains. Smog cuts a line blocking out the lower sections and the peaks rise above. Continuing on, soon the vegetation thickens up. The trail weaves in and out of the desert foliage heading west. Notice the stumpy needle on the ridge in the distance. The trail heads towards the needle. Much further into the hike you can see the back side once on the Mesquite Trail. Pass the South Trail junction which takes you to a spur trailhead.

1.6 miles into the trail is a marker warning beginners to turn around. This is where the switchbacks begin. It's a good push the next mile and half, mostly the first half mile. Passing the stumpy needle, you realize you won't be hiking very close to it. Soon you come to what looks like a saddle ahead of you. Upon reaching the top you find out there is a valley decked up and beyond. This is one of several valleys you'll be passing through on this trail. To your right (north) the slopes are covered with saguaros. To your left on the south slope is more cholla cacti. Paint dots (which by the way is a no no) lead the way in several areas on this trail. Personally I didn't see any need for the paint dots. At least they were small in this case.

Reaching the 3 mile mark there's a cluster of saguaros on the northern slope to your left. The trail begins to get slightly overgrown. The vegetation is so low it's not a bad problem. Do keep an eye out for cholla and prickly pair cacti near the edge of trail. The views to the east reveal the smog of the valley. You can see right over the smog to the Four Peaks. I realized, at about this point, that I was the only one hiking out here without a walking stick. So it must be the thing to do.

Shortly after the 3 mile marker you press on up to a saddle. The views are pretty good all around. Continuing on, the outlying trail vegetation is now practically barren. Made me wonder if there was a fire in the area a long time ago. You're heading towards the radio towers. The trail comes up to the bottom of the slopes of the radio towers, then skirts north and away. It's in this area where you need to pay close attention to the trail. You wouldn't think it'd be hard to find the trail, but it is. The vegetation is scattered every two feet and you're taking on a slope too. Lack of vegetation makes the trail indistinct. Paint dots and markers lead the way. I don't understand why the park system outlaws paint dots and at the same time doesn't put enough markers to lead the way. You could probably make it here okay. On trails like the Flatiron it would be near impossible. It's probably one of those money issue thingys. Okay, I've vented enough.

Next you come to another saddle. You could take a short excursion to the right at the saddle. I believe there would be good views of the valley. I didn't do it, so I'm not absolutely sure. Continuing on the other side, the trail immediately goes down. Looking ahead you can see light traces in the distance where the trail goes. Use some caution as the trail is slightly steep in sections. During this hike in Feb 2001 it was very dry up here. With above average January rains, poppies did scatter the area. Not the big beautiful thick fields as seen at Picacho Peak, but consistently scattered about every four feet.

At this point in the trail, I realized there wasn't going to be the cool white granite slabs like the Ford Trail. Nevertheless it's very peaceful on the backside of the Goat Camp Trail. You do cross a wash with jagged white rock. It's nothing spectacular. Also you don't follow the wash. It's only about ten to twenty feet across the wash. Shortly after the wash I did come across a cool little field of poppies. In addition there's a nice view down the canyon to the east. Then it's up another slope. I started wondering where this trail got it's name. Still don't know. I didn't see any goats camping out anywhere along the trail for those interested. - Ha ha

Soon you hook up on little ridge with views down to valleys on both sides. This was my favorite section. I didn't see another sole on this back section. Too bad for those that turn around early, this is the best part. It doesn't last long though. Soon you come to the Ford Canyon junction. Took me two hours to reach this point. Take a moment, check out the views of the Estella Mountains. South Mountain looks a long ways away, glad I don't have to walk home.

The terrain between the Ford Canyon Trail junction and the Mesquite Canyon Trail junction is a little more rugged. It's good variation and helps to keep the hike from getting boring. There's actually some steep loose rock sections, so be careful. I didn't spot Mesquite Springs just before the Mesquite Trail junction. I forgot all about it, so maybe next time.

Head back down to the Waddell/Mesquite trailhead. From here it's a two mile walk on the road back to your car. You could do a shuttle, making this only a 7.4 mile hike. Maybe lock a bike at one end. I walked the full loop so I could get an accurate time for the loop. It was four hours and ten minutes total. That's steady walking, taking tons of photos and one bathroom break. There are several bathrooms along the road on the way back to your car.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2001-02-03 joebartels
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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.

Most recent of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Another gorgeous day in the White Tank Mountains. Last week I did Ford Canyon down Willows so today it was Goat Camp down Mesquite. And of course I did both hikes from the exact same parking spot.

I met a few hikers early on but they all had the same plan of turning around before ascending the mountain. So the mountain belonged to Rowdy and me yes me. At about the 6 mile point we stopped and had lunch. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Rowdy had a roasted chicken breast boneless by the way.

After lunch we continued on our way. Heading down Mesquite we got to see more Mule deer than we had seen last week.
It was a beautiful day out and nice and peaceful.
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Bajada - Goat Camp - Mesquite - Mule Deer - Bajada

I ditched the daypack for a light rucksack and traded my hat for some sunscreen so it was a really comfortable outing. I heard a bunch of gunshots while I was heading up Goat Camp. I took a minute near the 2nd mile mark to call the park and let them know. Uneventful aside from that.
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Putting some mileage in this morning in preparation for an upcoming Rim to Rim trip, my daughter and I linked up the near entirety of four different trails at the White Tanks. Starting at the South trail we trekked a big loop along most of Goat Camp trail, down the Mesquite Trail and then back to the beginning via the Mule Deer trail for a total of 15.2 miles With temperatures a little lower than normal for this time of year and an early start it was an excellent day to be hiking.
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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I planned on doing a 6 mile out-n-back on Goat Camp, but the weather convinced me to keep going. I did the math and figured I'd wrap up this loop just as it was getting dark (spot on, if I do say so myself). There was a lively breeze and some very light sprinkles sprinkled throughout the hike.

I passed 4 deer along Mesquite once again. They seem to really like that big valley, especially during the early evening. Not far from area 7, a woman coming up the trail warned me of a rattler just around the bend. I slowed my pace, stuck to the far side of the trail, and I still didn't see it. It gave me a brief buzz as soon as I was ahead of it. That must have been an invite for pictures because it didn't move at all, even as I backtracked for a better view. It had a black tail, so I think it would be safe to say it was a black-tailed? I'll upload a picture just to be sure. It's been a good two days for fauna. :)

I kept hoping someone would offer me a ride during the road walk back to Goat Camp TH, but no dice. Maybe I'll actually stick my thumb out next time.
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Bajada - Goat Camp - wash/service road - Barry - Mesquite - first half of Waterfall Trail - south half of Black Rock - Mule Deer - Bajada

Headed up the wash just before mile 5 on GC for the first time - I think I'll stick to the Jeep trail on the ridge.
Last entry in the summit log(s) was from 10/28.
Saw a group of deer along the Jeep trail. They headed into Slick Rock Canyon. The myriad of game trails on satellite imagery suggest they like to hang out around there. It's on the list/was considered today, but... :-k
Good weather, hardly anyone on the trails (except Waterfall, of course), good day. Might even skip the ibuprofen tonight.
Longest hike of the year so far.
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Started the morning going up Goat Trail with my husky for an overnight camp. Made it to where the spring is the first night. As the map says, the uphill rocky part can be a challenge, but very fun. I saw one of those big freaky centipedes that almost bit my husky, I saw the tail end scurry under a rock, so he wasn't feeling like a photo op. When I came to where the spring was, I found I did not look far enough off the trail(I later found out from one of the ladies that works in the Admin office). But it's there, and it's never dry apparently. Anyways, a very nice loop, great for an overnighter, and nice groomed trails once you make it up the first rocky part. Just make sure to watch for those big dang centipedes. ;)
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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White Tank's Loop
Started on a dark, cool, clear morning in the Valley. The guy at the park entrance said I was his first customer on the day.

It'd been awhile since I'd been out to the White Tanks, and it sure felt good to not have to drive at least a couple of hours to get out of the heat to hike.

Ford Canyon is one of my favorites in the park, so I started my big loop there. I enjoy both Willow and Mesquite, so I did some off trail to the top of Willow Spring and then included the upper portions of Willow then Mesquite. Now on Goat Camp on my way to Barry Goldwater Peak, I kept my eyes open for any signs. None. I followed a wash to the road that goes to Barry Goldwater peak. I sat and enjoyed the views while I ate my lunch. I actually got a bit cold up there.

My least favorite part of this hike was the steep, rough, uneven downhill portion of Goat Camp Trail. I'd forgotten how bad that portion of the track is.

My goals were simple for the day:
1) Get to a spot where I could see Willow Spring from above - Check
2) Get to the top of Barry Goldwater Peak - Check
3) Hike the part Of the Goat Camp Trail that I hadn't done before - Check
4) Put together a loop in for some good exercise - Check
5) See a Goat on Goat Camp Trail - Nope....
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Needed to do a good road test on the repaired boots and it was about time to do this Loop. Wanted to throw in the two peaks, but by the time I got everything done I needed to do today, I knew that those Peaks were out of the question. Besides, the air quality sucked today, so the views would have been minimal anyway.

Got on the actual Trail at 1:20 and started out at a pretty good pace. Knowing that this was a new Trail for me, I knew it wouldn't last long before I got into "tibber" mode, and it didn't. :sweat: I must have seen a hundred lizards today, I finally quit trying to get pics of them. Tried to get some of the more colorful males, as it is the season...

Also got to see my first Crested Saguaro... :y: You know I got alot of pictures of that one...

A little more than a mile in, the climb started and my pace of course, slowed considerably. But I pushed myself as much as I could and finally made it to a small saddle. The Description stated that once you hit this point, the Trail was pretty good from then on. That's an understatement, in my opinion. If I hadn't stopped to take pics, I could have sailed through the rest of this loop very easily. Good Trail, that is either mostly level or downhill the rest of the way. It certainly didn't feel like another 7 miles.... :)

The White Tank desert is starting to look pretty sick. It is dry, dry, dry! Even the shrubs are starting to die off. This looks more like it should at the end of June, not the middle of March. It's disheartening to say the least.

Something was chattering at me from a rock far above me and I got some pics of it, thinking it was some sort of hawk, but it turns out that it was a te-wa! The pics aren't great, my camera was zoomed to the max, but kinda comical, he never shut up! Hmmm....

Got to enjoy the late afternoon sun hitting the Peaks and Valleys, and made it to the bottom and out to the road. Got to the road right at dark. I was hoping for the Moon to be out, but there was no sign of it, so I broke out the little flashlight. More for my visibility on the road, than to see by. Started hoofing it back to the car parked at the Goat Camp TH.

About halfway back to the car, there it is! The Moonrise! And it was a beauty! Of course, camera comes back out for pics, although I didn't have very high expectations with this camera. I had to try though...Every once in a while I get lucky. (With picture taking...):D

Made it back to the car finally. Nice Hike! A nice ascent to get the heart, lungs and legs going and working hard, followed by a long coast with a different view around every corner. Saw a total of 9 people all day. 6 within the first 30 minutes and 3 in the last mile of Trail. The rest of the time, I had that area completely to myself. Very peaceful and nice. Will definitely return to do the Peaks, preferably after a rain when the air is nice and clean and clear so I can really take in those killer views....Sure would like to see this range during a wet season, it has got to be something to see....

The boots passed the road test, looks like the shoe goo is going to hold, at least for awhile. It was soooo nice to not get blisters or have my feet absolutely killing me during the hike. Thanks to all of you that contributed your advice on the Forum.... :)
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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Hiked this one with JJ3 aka Juan Jaime iii. We walked the road first so we wouldn't have to at the end of the hike. Weather was wet and breezy most of the way. Came down the Willow Canyon trail and stopped by the spring. The weather seemed to be getting nice by the end of the hike, then the skies opened up and poured rain as we drove off. Got out of there just in time!
Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop
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I was going to start off with the South Trail for a nice clean loop, but I opted for the beginning of Goat Camp which resulted in a few minutes of road walking at the end. Took a little over an hour for me to get to the 3 mile ridge. Passed four people who had just hit up 4018. One of them said there was a worker up at the top and he didn't say anything to them. That made me want to head up myself, but I wasn't prepared for it. Barry was just as tempting.

I don't think I've ever hiked the entire Goat Camp trail in this direction. Same with Mesquite, so there were some new views to be had. My love/hate switch for GC is back in the love position.

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Goat Camp Trailhead
101 Loop to Park Take the I-10 west out of Phoenix to the 101 Loop Freeway. Go north on the 101 to Olive Blvd. Take a left and head west 13.5 miles to the White Tanks park entrance.

I-10 to Park To get to the White Tanks Park from downtown (PHX) is to stay on I-10 to Cotton Lane. Then go North 7 miles to Olive Ave, there is a stop sign and a Fertazone plant on the NW corner. Take a left (west) to the park. By going this you miss the new stop lights and the added stop signs on Olive.

After paying the fee at the entrance station on Olive Ave., continue west and take the first left, which is Black Canyon Drive, then park at the second parking lot on the left, which is Area 2. This is the location of the Goat Camp Trail trailhead. If the lot is full, go back to the first parking lot, which is Area 1. This is the location of the South Trail trailhead. The South Trail connects to the Goat Camp Trail.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 36.8 mi - about 50 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 144 mi - about 2 hours 20 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 153 mi - about 2 hours 29 mins
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