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Mesquite Canyon Loop

Difficult
 4.6 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An out-and-back loop that rewards you with some beautiful views of the White Tank Mountains and West Phoenix.


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Map Key

8.7

Miles

13.9

KM

Loop

2,912' 888 m

High

1,539' 469 m

Low

1,543' 470 m

Up

1,542' 470 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

A day use fee of $6 per vehicle is require at the park entrance. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Overview

This trail is part of the White Tank Mountains Regional Park and is the perfect hike for someone looking for well-maintained trails, moderate elevation change, and rewarding views. Using the Mesquite Canyon Trail, Willow Canyon Trail, and Ford Canyon Trail, it offers an out-and-back loop that traverses canyons, crosses dry creek beds, winds around desert mountains and overlooks the western Phoenix area.

Description

This hike begins at parking lot #7 at the end of Ramada Way. There are several covered picnic tables, drinking fountains, and some very clean restrooms. The parking lot can fill up quickly during high season (October through May) so come early if you want to be certain of available parking.

Leaving the trailhead, you are faced with a mild incline as you make your way up the canyon on a wide, fairly even trail. The incline begins to increase as you hit a few switchbacks and then wind your way up the side of the mountain. This is where your heart starts pumping and you get a good workout. You'll climb for a little less than a mile until you reach a nice lookout spot with a good view of western Phoenix. From here the trail levels out a bit and you traverse the hillside and get some nice scenic views of the canyon. There are some bumpy areas on the trail with rocks to step over, but it is very well-maintained singletrack that isn’t very difficult.

The trail takes you to the bottom of Mesquite Canyon where you take a right at the Willow Canyon Trail intersection and cross a dry creek bed. Willow Canyon Trail starts off with a moderate incline as you head up and over the hills on a trail that has some loose rock and gravel. It offers some nice views of the desert landscape and can be somewhat secluded. It soon levels out as you wind along the canyon and drop down into the dry creek. This is a wonderful place to rest, have a snack and even take a short nap on one of the large, smooth rocks in the canyon.

After leaving the creek, the trail slowly climbs into the vast, rolling hills where the trail ends at Ford Canyon Trail. A left on Ford Canyon Trail takes you back across the creek and up a steady incline that gives you a view of the radio towers on the peaks above. After reaching the intersection of Ford Canyon Trail, Mesquite Canyon Trail and Goat Camp Trail, follow Mesquite Canyon Trail which continues up the side of the hill for a final push to the top. Once it starts leveling off, you can rest assured that it’s pretty much all downhill from here.

Winding down Mesquite Canyon Trail gives you some beautiful views of the mountains and the Phoenix Valley. The trail has some loose rock and a few obstacles, but it’s a pleasant downhill trot until you pass the Willow Canyon Trail intersection at the bottom of the dry creek. At this point, you’re heading down the same trail you came up on. Some beautiful views reward you as you descend back to the parking lot.

Overall, this is a mildly challenging hike with very clearly marked, well maintained trails. It is a “must do” if you want to get up in to the mountains and out of the crowded areas of the park. It can be a bit secluded the farther out you go so bring adequate water, food and a cell phone (service is available the entire trail).

Flora & Fauna

A variety of desert plants and cacti are plentiful. Watch for mule deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds. Be careful as you hike since there are quite a few rattlesnakes out there!

Contacts

Land Manager: Maricopa County Parks

Shared By:

John Parker

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 7 votes

#1986

Overall
  4.6 from 7 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#92

in Arizona

#1,986

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1,388 Since Jan 26, 2018
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Photos

Phoenix from the Mesquite Canyon Trail
Mar 27, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
A view of the mountains and Phoenix below
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
An overlook of western Phoenix
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
Well maintained trails
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
Beginning the hike up the canyon.
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
The bottom of Willow Canyon. This rock makes a good resting spot!
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ

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Check-Ins

Jun 7, 2020
Victor Valdivia
Feb 12, 2020
Steve W
Did a quick jaunt up to the first saddle - nice little hike! 2.2mi — 1h 00m
Feb 1, 2020
Laura Goedhart
Loop with nice vegetation and canyon views in the back of the park. 8.4mi — 4h 10m
Jan 18, 2020
Sydney Bouressa
8.5mi
Jan 12, 2020
Candy Wampler
Nov 3, 2019
Mason Lussier
12h 43m
Oct 12, 2019
Stephanie Sherwood
total with Ford was 12 mi. start 9am finish 3:30.