The White Tank Mountains

Hats off the Waterfall Trail and its well-protected petroglyphs!

The White Tank Mountains are to the west of Phoenix. We have hiked on many trails, but far and away our favorite is the Waterfall Trail. The trail is short and easy, and a large part of it is concrete and accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. The petroglyphs along the trail are behind barriers but are very easy to see. If you have a camera with a zoom lens, you may be able to get better close up photos of the petroglyphs.

The trail follows up an extended stream and waterfall, which, for the most part, has been dry when we have been there. There are gigantic bleached rocks in the waterfall.

And at the end of the trail, you climb up some stairs and scramble over a few rocks and enter cavern. You feel the temperature drop 20 degrees when you enter the cavern. Every time we have been in the cavern we have seen pools of water. After you go to the back of the cavern, you see the huge waterfall. The waterfall may be dry, or may be only a small stream, depending on how much rain the area has had in the last few weeks. There is usually at least a little stream of water. But it is easy to see the cavern that the water has made.

How to get there

Use your map software to get to the White Tank Mountains. The mountains are near Highway 303. Once you get to the park, you have a couple options where to park. You could park in the parking lot for the Waterfall Trail, but we prefer to park near the Black Rock trail, which connects to the Waterfall Trail but gives you a slightly longer and more secluded hike up to the Waterfall.

Flora and Fauna

We always seem to see more critters at the White Tank Mountains, especially the little geckos and small lizards. On our last trip we saw a common blotched-sided lizard. One time we saw a rattlesnake, although that was on a less traveled trail at White Tank Mountains.

The flowers start to come out in February and are are gorgeous in March.

The Petroglyphs

Most of the petroglyphs at the White Tank Mountains were made by Hohokam Indians, and a few were made by Meso-Indians more than 10,000 years ago!