Known for its expansive views of the city, White Tank Mountain Regional Park is one of the best places in Phoenix to watch a sunrise. The 30,000-acre park is also home to a waterfall that gives visitors a chance to cool off after hiking at one of the highest points in Maricopa County. But it’s not just the scenery that makes White Tank Mountain Regional Park a must-visit.
The park is also home to a variety of desert animals, including snakes, lizards, and tortoises. Families can learn about these creatures at the park’s nature center, which also offers stargazing events. With its many trails and beautiful views, White Tank Mountain Regional Park is a perfect place to explore the Sonoran Desert.
Exploring White Tank Mountain Regional Park In 2022
In 2022, there are many ways to explore White Tank Mountain Regional Park. You can hike one of the 14 popular trails, bike on the shared-use trails, horseback ride on the trails, or stargaze at night. So, basically, the park has something for everyone.
If you enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate. The most popular trails include the Waterfall Canyon Trail, Black Rock Trails, and Mule Deer Trail. And if you’re up for a challenge, you can attempt the Ford Canyon Trail.
If you prefer to explore the park on two wheels, there are nearly 30 miles of shared-use trails, as well as the 10-mile Sonoran Loop Bicycle Competitive Track. This track is for more experienced cyclists and is often used for competitive events.
Keep on reading to find out the history, things to do, and everything you need to know about White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
Directions To Reach
Planning a visit to White Tank Mountain Regional Park? Here are some driving directions to help you find your way.
Unfortunately, public transportation does not currently extend to the park. So, RVs, carpooling, and designated drivers are your best bet for getting there.
Follow these directions to reach the park –
- If you head west from Phoenix on I-10, you’ll eventually come to the Loop 303.
- Take that north until you reach Northern Avenue.
- From there, it’s a left turn and then a quick right onto Cotton Lane.
- Follow that until you reach Olive Avenue, at which point you’ll want to take another right.
- That will lead you right into the park.
- Whether you’re coming from Scottsdale or Deer Valley, the best way to reach White Tank Mountain Regional Park is by taking the Loop 101 north towards Peoria.
- Get off at Northern Avenue and follow the same directions as above.
Assuming you are planning a one-day trip to White Tank Mountain Regional Park, the budget required would be as follows:
- Admission fee: $7 per vehicle or $2 per person if hiking, biking, or riding a horse into the park
- Food and drinks: $10-$20 depending on what you pack or purchase
- Gas: $10-$20 depending on how far away you live from the park. For instance, if you live in Phoenix, the drive is only about 1-hour and would require less gas.
- Total Cost: $27-$47 depending on how many people are in your party and whether or not you pack your own food and drinks.
An annual pass to White Tank Mountain Regional Park costs $85 per vehicle or $30 per person if hiking, biking, or riding a horse into the park. This would be a more economical option if you plan to visit the park more than once in a year.
If you are a family of four and plan to visit the park once a month, for example, then an annual pass would make more sense financially. In this case, your total cost for the year would be $120-$180 depending on whether or not you pack your own food and drinks.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit White Tank Mountain Regional Park is either in the spring or fall. The temperatures are moderate during these seasons, which makes for ideal hiking weather.
Additionally, the wildflowers bloom in the spring, adding to the park’s already picturesque scenery. So, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy all that the park has to offer, plan your trip for either April or October.
In case you were wondering, the worst time to visit White Tank Mountain Regional Park is during the summer.
The heat can be unbearable, especially if you’re planning on hiking any of the trails. So, unless you enjoy sweating profusely and being surrounded by other sweaty people, avoid visiting the park between June and August.
However, if you do decide to visit White Tank Mountain Regional Park during the summer, make sure to arrive early in the day.
This will help you avoid the heat and the crowds, as most people won’t start arriving until later in the day.
Things To Do
There are a number of great things to do at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. As mentioned above, the park is home to some of the best views in Phoenix and also features a waterfall that is perfect for cooling off after a hike.
Additionally, there are plenty of trails to explore, both for hiking and mountain biking, and the park also has a horseback riding trail. For those interested in learning more about the history and culture of the area, the Nature Center is a great resource, and the park also offers periodic stargazing programs.
Here’s a list of the best things to do at White Tank Mountain Regional Park:
- Hike to the waterfall and cool off in the pool at the bottom
- Take a scenic hike or mountain bike ride along one of the many trails in the park
- Ride horseback through the park, taking in the beautiful scenery
- Visit the Nature Center to learn about the history and culture of the area
- Attend a stargazing program and learn about the stars, planets, and moon
These are just a few of the great things to do at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. No matter what your interests are, there is sure to be something for you at this Phoenix gem.
For instance, if you love hiking, the Waterfall Canyon Trail is a must-do. As the trail is only two miles round-trip, it is perfect for all skill levels, and the views of the city from this trail are simply stunning.
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If you want a more challenging hike, the Ford Canyon Trail is 7.4 miles and takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the park.
If horseback riding is more your speed, the horseback riding trail offers a great way to see the park.
And, for those interested in learning more about the area, the Nature Center is full of exhibits on the Hohokam people and also has small native animals on display.
No matter what you love to do, White Tank Mountain Regional Park is sure to have something for you. So, get out and explore all that this Phoenix treasure has to offer!
Must Do: Hiking
Hiking is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors, and White Tank Mountain Regional Park is one of the best places in Phoenix to do it.
Even beginners can find a trail that suits their abilities, and there are plenty of scenic views to enjoy along the way.
With so many trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone at White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
For example, the Waterfall Canyon Trail is a short, easy trail that’s perfect for families with young children.
The Mule Deer Trail is a bit more challenging, but it offers stunning views of the Valley.
And the Ford Canyon Trail is a longer hike that’s ideal for experienced hikers who are looking for a real workout.
The best one to hike in the park really depends on your level of experience and what you’re looking for in a hike.
If you’re just starting out, the Waterfall Canyon Trail is a great option. It’s short and easy, but it’s still beautiful and there’s plenty to see along the way. For something a bit more challenging, try the Mule Deer Trail.
It’s longer and has more uphill sections, but the views are worth it. And if you’re an experienced hiker, the Ford Canyon Trail is a great option. It’s one of the longest trails in the park, so it’ll take a few hours to complete, but it’s a great workout and the scenery is incredible.
No matter which trail you choose, you’re sure to have a great time hiking in White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
Hotels Nearby To Stay
If you’re looking for a place to stay near White Tank Mountain Regional Park, there are several hotels located near State Farm Stadium at 99th and Glendale Avenues.
So whether you’re looking for a place to crash after a hike or just want to be close to all the action, there are plenty of options nearby.
Even your RV can find a home at one of the 40 individual campsites located within the park. However, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance as these spots fill up quickly. If you’re looking to camp with a group, there are also two group campgrounds available.
No matter where you stay, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
The history of White Tank Mountain Regional Park is a long and complicated one. The park has been home to many different cultures over the years, each of which has left their mark on the land. It is estimated that the first people to live in the area were the Hohokam.
Dating back to 500-1100 AD, the Hohokam were a hunter-gatherer society who built seven villages throughout the park. The largest of these villages is said to have stretched across 75 acres.
When the Hohokam left the area, they left behind petroglyphs and sherd areas. These would later be discovered by the Yavapai, who also made the park their home. The Yavapai were eventually forced to leave the park and move to reservations elsewhere in the state.
So, the park has been home to many different cultures over the years. Today, it is a popular spot for hiking and camping, and its 11 archeological sites are a big draw for history buffs.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of White Tank Mountain Regional Park, be sure to take a trip there yourself and explore all it has to offer. You’ll be sure to come away with a greater appreciation for the complex history of this fascinating place.