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Mesquite Canyon - Waddell - Ford Canyon Loop
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mini location map2017-03-31
17 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Mesquite Canyon - Waddell - Ford Canyon LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2017
friendofThundergod
Hiking9.52 Miles 1,584 AEG
Hiking9.52 Miles   4 Hrs   2 Mns   2.52 mph
1,584 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This was my first time to the White Tanks and I must say I came away pretty impressed. I was looking for a little end of the week hike to take advantage of the cooler afternoon, blow off some week day steam and get the dogs some exercise. I was expecting something more on the lines of South Mountain, or the preserve and instead we got a rather pleasant hike with ample water, wildflowers, varied scenery and great trails.

Ford Canyon was a great trail to kick off my first experiences in the White Tanks. After only a few miles in, we started to encounter water in the bedrock of the canyon and this continued for most of the hike through Ford. The couple mile stretch along the bedrock through Ford proved to be kind of fun and the dogs were happy with the ample and sometimes deep pools of water. Jackie was "seeing" glphys everywhere and we examined a few of her leads, but they all turned out to be duds, until she did spot a faint set right in the creek bed. The flowers through Ford were great as well and only got better and more varied as we climbed out. We ran into a couple at about five miles in and they asked if we were staying a night out there, because they said they never ran into anyone out that far, which made me kind of chuckle, as we were only completing a nine mile loop and I certainly did not think we were in what would qualify as the White Tanks "backcountry."

From Ford, it was on to Willow Canyon, which was a nice little area as well. We stopped at the spring briefly for the pups and then continued on to the intersection with Mesquite. This portion of the hike ended up being gold, as we got to enjoy the vibrant yellow of the brittle brush mixed in with some nice lighting, big clouds and a great sunset. Head lamp time for most of Mesquite Trail, a pretty quick downhill and then a quick hike across the well manicured trail and wide path back to where we began our loop at Waddell Trailhead.

I don't know if I will start planning weekend hiking around the White Tanks, but this hike certainly exceeded my expectations and beats most of the urban hikes near town. In terms of desert hiking, the White Tanks probably represent some of the nicer classic desert hiking within an hour of Phoenix in my opinion and now is a great time to hit this area.
Fauna
Fauna
Sonoran Lyresnake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
I would say substantial, but I have heard brittle brush does not count as wildflowers and I don't want to offend the wildflower guild...

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Willow Spring - White Tanks Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Large deep pool of water at site of spring
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