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White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp, AZ

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Guide 65 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.4 of 5 by 18
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,537 feet
Elevation Gain 2,389 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.6
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Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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12  2018-03-14 Yoder
17  2015-12-13
Radio Barry Sunday
14  2014-12-22 winotron
6  2014-10-04 Barrett
4  2014-04-27 trekkin_gecko
8  2012-01-16 PatrickL
14  2012-01-09 leonesiegel
4  2012-01-09 Laurel
Page 1,  2,  3
Author TerrySwicegood
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 52
Trips 4 map ( 35 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Litchfield Park, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Feb, Mar, Apr → 7 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:17am - 6:28pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Goat alternative
by TerrySwicegood

The White Tank Range, located 35 miles west of downtown Phoenix, is part of the Maricopa County Park system. A series of well-maintained trails crisscross the park. The hike to the summit of the White Tank Range utilizes the Goat Camp Trail.

Hike: At the Goat Camp Trail Head (elevation 1537') the trail climbs steadily for 2.96 miles. At 2.96 miles (3141') the trail comes to a saddle with a faint trail heading left (west-ward). The Goat Camp Trail continues on straight toward Mesquite Canyon. Take the left turn here and hike another .83 miles (800' elevation gain) to the microwave towers on the summit. Note: As you approach the saddle where the summit trail turns right, there is a giant fallen saguaro cactus on your right. The GPS registered the elevation at the summit as 3926 feet.

Another good visual landmark for the intersection of the summit trail is your clear view of the summit microwave and radio towers off to your left as you climb toward the saddle. You will see the distinct ridge which you must climb to reach the summit.

My time climbing up was two hours and fifteen minutes at a slow, but steady pace. The round-trip is about four hours.

The views from the summit are magnificent and include the Superstitions to the east, the Bradshaws to the north, the Estrellas to the south and east, and the Kofas to the west. In mid-May, 2005 when I did the hike I was greeted by a bevy of lady-bugs on the summit.

I have done this hike every season of the year. It can even be done in the summer if you start around 6 a.m. The temperatures on May 20 were 78 degrees at 7 a.m. and 97 degrees when I returned to the car at 11 a.m.

This hike is fairly strenuous, but more rewarding to me than other hikes in the valley because one is always greeted by the solitude of the Sonoran Desert and one rarely sees other hikers.

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2005-05-25 TerrySwicegood
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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 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Still trying to get back into hiking shape. Dragged another guy from work up with me today. Pretty straight forward, went up Goat Camp but because it's been a while I thought we needed to turn off earlier. Ended up on a game trail that led nowhere but back to the main trail. Went up another quarter mile and found the right turn off.

First time ever chased off the summit. Workers were installing a new tower and it looked like a giant erector set up on the top. So couldn't sign the peak register. But the workers were very cool about it and escorted us back to the trail.
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Radio Barry Sunday
Return visit a long time in the making. I had hiked to Barry Goldwater with my brother in law a little over 4 years ago, and I have wanted to do it again ever since. Make it a double peak day, and I am in. I managed to shave almost an hour and change off the previous time, and added in the extra peak. Thanks to trekkin gekko for the track idea, the tower road walk in between made logistics work out nicely. I got an 8:30 start in the morning, chilly but not too bad. Goat Camp is good trail, but gets pretty relentless from mile 1-3 or so. I saw a group of 6 white tail cross the trail about 50-60 feet ahead of me right before the Radio spur, Awesome start to a great hike. I had a head down moment and plowed past the turn off for the Radio Summit, but did not get too far down the trail before I realized my mistake. First time up the Radio Summit, the spur trail is pretty easy to follow. It does get a little thin in spots, but since you are heading up a ridgeline to a bunch of looming towers, it is hard to get too far off track. Took a short break at the top and then headed down the tower road for Barry Goldwater. Nothing like dropping 800' just to gain it right back again. Big machinery up by the top, looks like there will be some construction in the near future. Took a few minutes to thumb through the summit register, saw lots of familiar names in here. Great to see so many of my HAZ brothers and sisters representing. Looks like I just missed the Eagle and Ray Huston by a day! Took another break for some views and headed on down to the connector trail. I stopped a little ways down for a PB sandwich and some Gatorade, and then powered my way out. I saw about a dozen hikers today, but they were all within 2 miles of the trailhead. All Rush on the playlist today, Fly by Night, Signals, Caress of Steel (my personal favorite), 2112, Exit Stage Left. Been listening to more Rush this week after hearing Neil Peart is officially hanging up the sticks, sad days for the rock world. So glad I got to see them one last time on the R40 tour...
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Time to introduce Olivia to some peak bagging. Lured her to the top with the promise of a summit brew if she made it up. Perfect weather to start today, low 60's & sunny. Made it up to the summit in 2:15 and hung out for a bit to take in the views and snap a few pics. Saw 4 deer hanging around the summit as well today. On the way down took it a bit slow after Olivia twisted her ankle. But all in all a good day to get out, enjoy the weather and get back to one of my favorite mountain ranges.

On the way back we stopped in at the Saddle Mountain Brewery, just off of I-10 and Estrella Parkway for a well deserved cheese burger and beers. Was quite impressed with their IPA. Would highly recommend after any far west valley hiking.
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Had the day off today, so of course I went hiking. I was feeling confident today, so I decided to try something harder than my usual hikes. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do this hike, but I wanted to challenge myself. I was also excited to play around with my early Christmas gift, a Panasonic ZS30.

Got to the TH about 10am and was surprised to see 7 or 8 cars in the small parking lot. The air quality was terrible today...horrendously hazy, and very sunny. Probably not the best day to test out my new camera. The first mile and a half was a piece of cake. Looking back at about the 1.5 mile point, I realized I had gained some elevation, but it wasn't noticeable at all. Then the switchbacks started, and they were pretty steep. The grassy valley at the 2 mile marker was very nice, and a good breather too. More steep climbing after that, which doesn't really stop til you get to the top.

I had read that the spur trail to the summit was a little hard to find, but thankfully there were a couple guys taking a break right at the spot. One of them asked me if I was going up to the radio towers and showed me where the trail starts. Good thing, because it doesn't look like the start of a trail at all. The guy left a cairn there after I thanked him and started my way up. I thought I might be pretty fatigued at this point, but I was still feeling good.

The summit trail is pretty easy to follow for the first half mile or so if you pay attention. The last 1/4 mile, however, the trail is virtually non-existent. It gets very steep, as you're basically just scrambling up the rocks. I was already dreading coming back down this part. Finally made it to the top and soaked in the views, and some radiation. The views weren't the best due to the extreme amount of haze, but the haze also gave me a weird "in the clouds" kind of feeling. I could see almost nothing except the tops of the peaks of the other surrounding mountains. Signed the summit register and headed back down.

Heading down the steep sections actually wasn't too bad. I just took it slow and made sure I had good footing. My knee seems to be healed now as I haven't had any pain while going back down on my last few hikes. Only saw 1 other hiker going back down, until I ran into a group of 10-12 people on a horseback tour near the beginning of the trail. Was hoping to see some wildlife today that I could test my camera on, but nothing except birds and lizards. Very happy with how my photos came out though for the most part.

This was my first 2000+ AEG hike, and I crossed the 2000 mark by a good margin. Very happy with how I held up today. I was a little tired when I got to the top, but not exhausted. Great hike, and I can't wait to challenge myself with some even harder hikes soon. Flatiron has been a goal of mine for a while now, and I think I might be ready for it. :)
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Met James at the Goat Camp trailhead at 6 am, and was introduced to Jeff, AKA RunMule. Now I had both an aspiring and actual ultra-marathoner to hike with, and spent the next 90 minutes trying to keep up.
Saw 2 deer three times, and several hikers in their 70's ( : rambo : ) on this otherwise uneventful double black diamond trail.
Today was Jeff's birthday, so upon summiting we cracked open some Hop Shock (tastes like it sounds) and some Hop Notch (more like Dales - Mmmm), did the register thing and headed down.
Conversation included what you can blend with a Bullet Blender, tattoo-worthy poems, Punk bands from the Great Lakes region, and how visiting off-the-beaten-path bars in France can lead to a friendship with Johnny Depp.
Enjoyed meeting RunMule, even though I found going up faster than coming down completely foreign and against the natural order of things. ;)
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Almost perfect morning to hit the White Tanks. Nice and cool this morning, the thermometer in my car read 61 degrees when I pulled into the park. But once the sun came up it warmed up fast. Met Barrett & Jeff at the base of Goat Camp and headed up the trail. Nothing too eventful to report, did see some deer along the way. From the parking lot to the summit took about 90 minutes.

Got to the summit and to celebrate Jeff's birthday this week pulled out some Hop Shock to pass around. To make things more festive, Barrett had some Hop Notch to share. Nothing like a an IPA at 7:30 in the morning. Took our time getting off the peak but fast enough for everyone to get home at a decent hour and start their "honey do" chores.
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Made good time going up and I got a good dose of thunder just as I reached the first building up top. Despite being out of breath, I moved as fast as I could (which wasn't fast at all) to tag the highpoint and immediately booked it. The thunder continued to tell me to get gone as I quickly moved down the ridge, tweaking the :pk: out of my ankle in the process. There was a light sprinkle during most of my descent, and a few minutes of cold, heavy rain around the switchbacks. Great morning for a hike!
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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headed west this morning after work for the two high points in the white tanks
up goat camp to just past the three mile mark, then found the use trail that goes up to the radio towers
it must get plenty of traffic, because there is zero route-finding needed
signed the summit register but there were a lot of bees nearby, so i didn't stay long
took the road over to barry goldwater peak
saw that patrick, 9l and kyle have signed in this year
back down the road to the cairned use trail that descends to just above the five mile mark on goat camp
went back down goat camp
this route provides the most efficient access to both peaks, although it's not my favorite trail in the white tanks
expansive vistas in the higher regions and interesting rock formations along the trails and in the drainages
lots of dust in the air this morning
saw a couple dozen people on goat camp, but no one once i got off trail
light breeze, cool temps and some haze at times
a good day for it
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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Needed to check another local peak off my list of things to do. Pretty straight forward hike up Goat Camp Trail. Made great time, 90 minutes up to the summit and hung out just long enough to have a drink and sign the trail register.

Could not find the dead saguaro from the description for the turnoff. So the easiest way to find the trail up to the summit from Goat Camp is this: Look for mile marker #3 on Goat Camp, continue going up the trail for 20 yards or so until you hit a little saddle. I could not really see the trail from Goat Camp, so I scrambled up this little hill from the saddle and the trail became obvious. Even when I followed the trail back to Goat Camp I could not see the beginning of the trail from the main trail.

Pretty much had the place to myself heading up, ran into only 3-4 people going up. Coming down ran into more people. Did not see, but heard a rattlesnake when I was coming down Goat Camp. Also ran into more jerks with music blaring from their smart phone. To make it worse they had their un-behaved dog running loose on the trail as well.
White Tanks Radio Summit via Goat Camp
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I had benchmarks on my mind today. Specifically, the azimuth mark for BM White Tank. It, along with reference mark 2, are the only two remaining from the original station set in 1910, although they were set a number of years later. I've known about the azimuth's location for some time now, and this picture gave me the reminder I needed to finally check it out.

Took a brief moment to catch my breath on 4018 and headed south along the ridge to the peak where the benchmark was expected to be. Traveling along the ridge exposed me to the strongest, most unrelenting winds I have ever encountered. I was constantly getting bombarded aside from the two or three times when they subsided for a couple seconds. Any tree or outcrop cover was greatly appreciated. The last 15ft or so to the top was a fun and light scramble. At the top I found the benchmark in great condition. :DANCE: Took many pictures before heading back to 4018 for a short break. Which reminds me, someone has taken the pencils/pens out of the summit jar. If anyone is headed up there, feel free to donate one or two...

On the way back down Goat Camp, I went a short ways off-trail to check out a small dam I saw on the way up. It had a pipe running through the bottom of it, leading me to think this is a reassuring clue as to why it's called "Goat Camp." I figured there was some sort of ranching history, but I have yet to find out for sure.

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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