March 15, 2019

Arizona 2019 Vacation Trip

Mesquite – Ford Trail Loop: Mesquite Canyon to Ford Canyon

——————– Trip Report Summary ——————–

Region: White Tank Mountain Regional Park (Arizona)

Starting & Ending Point: Mesquite/Waddell Trailhead (Ramada Way)

Way Points: Mesquite Canyon & Upper Willow Canyon & Ford Canyon & Willow Canyon Flats & Mesquite Canyon Flats (hike)

Approximate Stats: 10.7 miles traveled; 1700 feet gained & lost; 3.9 hours total time.

——————– Full Trip Report ——————–

Having a few hours of daylight available during our penultimate day in Phoenix, I headed over to White Tanks Mountain Regional Park for a final hike. The White Tank Mountains are a small cluster of arid peaks reaching slightly over 4000 feet.

I parked at the Mesquite/Waddell Trailhead and started up the Mesquite Canyon Trail. The terrain along this trail epitomizes Arizona desert hiking: rocks, lizards, cacti, scrub bushes, and wildflowers galore—all within sight of the Phoenix metropolis.

Middle Mesquite Canyon Trail
Wildflowers On Mesquite Canyon Trail

After 4 miles, the Mesquite Canyon Trail ended at a junction (1.4 hours + 1350 feet from TH). I turned right on the Ford Canyon Trail.

Mesquite-Ford Trail Junction

The trail dipped down to cross Willow Canyon, switch-backed up to cross a ridge, and then descended into Ford Canyon. In the canyon invert, trail tread became lost in the sandy and gravelly washes. However, scattered ducks, cairns, and trail markers clearly led the way down.

Upper Ford Canyon Trail

The canyon gradually became a narrow channel with polished rock slabs and small pools of water. I passed an old rubble-and-mortar dam along the way (2.5 hours + 1650 feet from TH).

Polished Slabs In Ford Canyon
Old Dam In Ford Canyon

With further distance, the Ford Canyon Trail steadily improved until it intersected the Waddell Trail. I turned right onto the latter trail and followed it back to my starting point (3.9 hours + 1700 feet total loop), arriving just before dark.

Lower Ford Canyon Trail

——————– Route Map / Sketch ——————–

Mesquite-Ford Trail Map

——————– Photo Gallery (click to enlarge) ——————–