Have you ever heard of White Tank Mountain Regional Park? Read on! You’ll find important information and learn exactly what this park has to offer.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park is the largest park in Maricopa County. This park allows visitors the space to gather together under ramadas or spread out among several acres of quiet landscape. It’s located roughly forty minutes northwest of Phoenix. White Tank Mountain Regional Park is easily accessible to the metropolitan area and definitely worth paying a visit.
We’ll tell you what White Tank Mountain Regional Park is known for, the park’s must-see spots, hiking and trails information, open hours, entrance fees, picnic areas, camping, and nearby accommodations.
1. What White Tank Mountain Regional Park
White Tank Mountain Regional Park encompasses 30,000 acres of Maricopa County. The rugged White Tank Mountain Range makes up most of the park. The range is beautifully and deeply entrenched with ridges and canyons that fill with water when heavy rains fall. Interestingly, this is how this mountain range got its name. Arizonians love this park! The majesty of the surrounding mountains, its rich history, multi-use trails, competitive bike track, and horseback riding opportunities, we’re sure you’ll enjoy this park too!
The history buffs will be excited to hear that there are eleven different Hohokam Indian archeological sites. Dating all the way back to 500-1100 AD and all have been located within White Tank Mountain Regional Park’s limits. Its believed that the Hohokam people left the White Tank Mountains around 1100 AD. The area remained barren until the Western Yavapai settled here many centuries later. You can learn more about the rich history of the White Tanks at the park’s Nature Center and Library. Always be on the lookout for those rock faces to spot the artwork left behind by the ancient people. We spotted many along the way, it was a real treat.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers 14 different multi-use trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians to utilize. These trails range from easy to difficult. It showcases picturesque desert and mountain scenery with opportunities to get up close to petroglyph drawings and towering saguaros.
Competitive Biking Track
In addition to trails for the mountain bikers, there is a 10-mile competitive biking track available. This track provides challenging outdoor recreation for park visitors and organized events alike.
It’s open to everyone’s use when the competitive track is not being utilized for an event. This includes cross-country runners and joggers, fast bicyclists and racers, and trotting and galloping equestrians, and endurance riders.
Are you here to ride your horse? You’re more than welcome to bring your horses to the park for the day to ride on the designated trails. All White Tank Mountain Regional Park trails are multi-use unless otherwise stated at the trailhead.
If you are planning on saddling-up your horse, you can utilize Horse Staging Area A. Please view the White Tank Mountain park map to locate this staging area and the designated trails.
If you don’t own your own horse you can contact Corral West Horse Adventures at White Tank Ranch to provide trail ride services within the regional park. The vendor is certified as a recreation service partner with Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. Its location is adjacent to the park. For more information, visit the Corral West Horse Adventures website or call their office.
2. What are the Top Spots to See in White Tank Mountain Regional Park?
If you’re in the area, you’ve certainly got to see White Tank Mountain Regional Park’s ancient petroglyph drawings. But don’t forget about the state-of-the-art Nature Center and Library.
Ancient people drew hundreds of figures and symbols on the rock faces of the White Tank Mountains. Listen to this! Some of these sketches may even be more than 10,000 years old! Along the Waterfall Canyon Trail, you can find the largest group of petroglyph panels. It’s often referred to as “Petroglyph Plaza”. You don’t know what you’re looking for? Don’t fret. White Tank Mountain Regional Park has created a printable self-guided tour outline to make sure you do. Another cluster of rock drawings is located near the entrance to the Box Canyon.
While it’s impossible to decipher the meaning of these petroglyphs. We do know that the ancient Arizonians who lived among this area used symbols to record events and mark locations. There’s nothing quite like looking at centuries of history up close; this spot is definitely worth checking out!
Nature Center and Library
The Nature Center at White Tank Mountain Regional Park is also worth checking out. It’s a marvel in sustainability and design. The rooftop contains 228 solar panels that produce 25% of the facility’s annual energy needs. 92% of the leftover construction debris was separated and recycled after building. Inside, you’ll find park rangers, educational exhibits, live reptiles, and souvenirs.
Additionally, the White Tank Regional Parks Nature Center is home to the White Tank Library. It doesn’t matter if you’re a visitor or a local. All are invited to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views while they peruse the library and bookstore. I’m sure this is one of the most unique libraries that there is. Take advantage of this spot! You can sit and relax inside with a book next to a large window showcasing the desert landscape. Or sit outside while you soak up the sun while you read on the large outdoor patio.
The Nature Center and Library put on plenty of educational programming opportunities for the whole family. Some of them are scorpion hunts, nature walks, snake feeding, biking classes, and stargazing. Check out White Tank Mountain Regional Park’s event schedule to find out more.
3. Hiking/Trails Information at White Tank Mountain Regional Park
White Tank Mountain Regional Park contains about 30 miles of excellent multi-use trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. The park’s 14 trails range in length from just under a mile to 7.9 miles. They provide visitors with breathtaking views out toward the surrounding mountain ranges and sweeping panoramas down to the valley below. Here are some of our most beloved trails:
- Black Rock Loop Trail (favorite) – an easy 1.3-mile loop with nice views that is great for dogs and children.
- Mule Deer (Maricopa) Trail – a moderate 3.4-mile hike that is overall flat with a few exceptions. Beautiful and colorful scenery.
- Mesquite Canyon Trail – a moderately strenuous 5.0-mile trail. This trail especially beautiful in the spring with blooming wildflowers and scurrying lizards.
- Goat Camp Trail – a difficult 6.0-mile hike with rocky portions. Intended for those looking for a challenge. You’ll be reward with incredible scenery and great views.
Two trails solely reserved for hikers:
- Waterfall Trail (our favorite) – a simple 1.0-mile trail to a waterfall and creek. A must-do after heavy rain!
- Short Loop of Black Rock Trail (our favorite) – roughly half a mile long and wheelchair accessible. Anyone of any age will find this trail pleasing.
We absolutely loved and highly recommend taking the Black Rock Loop Trail. It takes you to one of the locations in the park where you can spot some of those famous petroglyphs. You’re able to get an up-close and personal look at these amazing shapes carved into the rocks long ago.
Don’t stop there though! Keep your hike going to the Waterfall Trail (right off of the Petroglyph Trail). Here you’ll get a view of the mountains high above you. This is also where after a rainfall, the waterfalls are rushing and there’s a “tank” where water collects in white-colored rocks. This is how the White Tank Mountains get their name.
In addition to the scenery, we also spotted deer along these trails. Be sure to walk quietly! You too just may sneak up on the silent beauties that call these mountains home.
There is a lack of shade on the White Tank Mountain Regional Parks trails. No matter which hikes you decide to take, you should bring more than enough water and sun protection. And as always, be sure to tell someone where you’re going.
4. Park and Camping Information for White Tank Mountain Regional Park
White Tank Mountain Regional Park is open year-round from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm Sunday through Thursday. 6:00 am to 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
For information regarding White Tank Mountain Regional Park’s entrance fees and annual memberships, please visit the park’s website.
There is certainly no shortage of picnic tables at this Maricopa County regional park! White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers visitors 240 picnic sites with tables and barbecue grills. 80 of these picnic sites have a small overhead cover to provide shade or shelter from the rain.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park also has eleven large group picnic sites available across three different locations within the park. These large group picnic sites each contain a number of ramadas. You can reserve them for a fee and for a four-hour increment. The ramadas are available to everyone on a first-come, unless marked as reserved.
- Area 3 – Contains two ramadas with four picnic tables each. Three large barbecue grills, an activity court, a fire pit, restrooms, and parking for roughly 20 vehicles. Located near the White Tank Mountain Visitor Center.
- Area 4 – Contains six ramadas with four picnic tables each. In addition, Area 4 provides seven barbecue grills, three activity courts, three fire pits, a playground, and lastly restrooms. Located at the Black Rock Loop Trailhead.
- Area 7 – Contains three ramadas with two tables each. Six barbecue grills, one fire pit, and restrooms. It’s located at the Waddell/Mesquite Trailhead. We loved this spot because it showcases a beautiful mountain backdrop and desert landscaping.
There are 40 individual sites for tent or RV camping available inside of White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Most of the park’s sites have a large parking area. Accessible water, electricity, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, a fire pit, and a nearby dumping station. All campground restrooms have flushing toilets and hot water showers. Large groups are encouraged to make your reservations ahead of time. You can choose from one of these group campgrounds:
- Group Campground Area 14 – Contains two large ramadas with four picnic tables each, two large barbecue grills, one large fire pit, restrooms with hot water showers, lights/electrical outlets, and parking for approximately 50 RVs, and a nearby dump station.
- Youth Group Area 12 – Reserved for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other youth groups with the intent to camp groups of children under the age of 18 years. Adults must supervise all youth groups. The group area contains 12 sites that accommodate one or two tents per site. There is one small grill at each site. In addition, there is a large group fire ring with three picnic tables and nearby restrooms.
To reserve a campsite at White Tank Mountain, please visit the Maricopa County Parks website. Overnight backpacking is allowed with a permit in established backcountry campsites; contact the park office for more information.
5. Where To Stay
Of course, there are always visitors who want to spend the night in the area but aren’t looking to camp out. With that said, when it comes to hotel accommodation near White Tank Mountain Regional Park, we recommend checking out the nearby town of Surprise, Arizona. Here, you will find a number of lovely hotels and restaurants to choose from and as close as seven miles from the park. Lastly, there are a number of affordable Airbnb listings even closer to the park near Waddell, Arizona.
Rest assured that you’ll find something for every member of the family to enjoy at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Whether you’re staying in a tent, an RV, a hotel, a guest house, or simply stopping by for the day… There’s an abundance of pristine landscapes and fun just around the corner at every moment!