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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Goat Camp / Mesquite Loop, AZ

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248 79 0
Guide 79 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
Rated
3.1
3.1 of 5 by 19
 
4
Statistics
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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
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next 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
The_Eagle
54  2012-03-08 outdoor_lover
8  2011-12-18 johnlp
7  2011-11-22 PatrickL
Page 1,  2,  3
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:03am - 5:27pm
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Official Route
 
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Water
Nearby Area Water
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
same trailhead
7.6 mi
2,400 ft
Barry Goldwater Peak via Goat Camp
Barry Goldwater Peak via Goat Camp
0.0 mi away
13.2 mi
3,010 ft
Goat Camp Trail - White Tanks
Goat Camp Trail - White Tanks
0.0 mi away
6.2 mi
2,050 ft
Goat Camp - Willow / Mesquite Loop
0.3 mi away
14.5 mi
2,600 ft
South Trail - White Tanks
0.3 mi away
Bajada Trail - White Tanks
0.5 mi away
1.0 mi
180 ft
Black Rock Long Loop
Black Rock Long Loop
1.0 mi away
1.3 mi
120 ft
Black Rock Short Loop
Black Rock Short Loop
1.0 mi away
0.5 mi
68 ft
Mule Deer Trail - White Tanks
Mule Deer Trail - White Tanks
1.3 mi away
3.3 mi
251 ft
Wild Life Trail - White Tanks
Wild Life Trail - White Tanks
1.3 mi away
0.4 mi
15 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hop-Scotching the Desert Valley
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
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.

joebartels
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    guide related
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.

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info


$6 per vehicle or $85 annual

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
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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