One of the down sides of always blogging about new adventures is that we don’t always get to go back to places. Mom decided it was time to revisit the White Tank Mountains near Peoria this weekend. Last time, we went up to the Waterfall, which is a very easy and high traffic trail. We, unfortunately, did get to see any water flowing, but it was a nice hike, nonetheless. This time, we selected the Mule Deer trail since mom’s ankle was bothering her again.
The White Tank Mountains Regional Park is off the 303 in the west valley. You take the exit for Peoria and head west or to the right. Look for the brown sign that says “White Tank Mountain Regional Park” on your left and turn in. You will need to pay $7 per vehicle to enter, and you will get a nice map with all the options. Note that the distances are one-way, which mom didn’t realize from the web. The map shows you all sorts of options from mild to mild, so you can pick whatever suits you for the day.
The Mule Deer Trail is located a few miles from the visitor’s center on the right. There is no human restroom, and the trail is at the very back of the parking lot. Several other trails start from this dirt parking lot. Expect to see horses and lots of mountain bikes on this trail.
The total length is 7 miles and it is an out and back. We didn’t go to the end as mom was up for about 3.5 miles. That’s the good news…you can do whatever you like! Apparently, the name comes from the bleached-out granite water catchments or “tanks.” Bay in the 1800’s, this area was a watering hole for stagecoach horses.
The trail is relatively flat, mostly dirt and has some rocks. It actually makes a nice mountain biking or horseback riding trail, thus why we saw bunches of bikes and a few horses. The morning temps were cool, but we are quickly approaching the hot season, and this trail would be extremely hot in the summer. There is very little shade.
The park is laid out well, though, and the trails are well marked. They have strategically placed benches and picnic areas throughout the park for your enjoyment. This trail did not go into the White Tank Mountains but rather skirted around in the desert. What we liked about was the “forever” views. We could see all the way to downtown Phoenix and beyond!
Let me warn you that this particular trail goes through a burn area. In May of last year, a fire blazed through, destroying a lot of the vegetation. It’s kind of sad and bleak in some areas, but you still have the views. If we had known about the burn, we would have taken a different trail like the Black Rock Loop. Have you done it? Let me know what you think!
Anyway, we met some nice people along the way and turned around just shy of the visitor center. In essence, you are traveling back toward the entrance for the entire trail (an out and back). All in all, we went about 3.5 miles, just like mom wanted to do. We enjoyed some shade and a long drink of water before heading back.
If you live in the west valley, this is a gem! Truly, they have done a remarkable job making this a versatile park. Even for those of us on the north end, it is nice to have another option. Isn’t it amazing how different the desert can look from one part of town to another? I am continually in awe of this area and consider myself a lucky pup to live here! As the temps rise, be sure to carry extra water for you and your furry friends. See you on the trail my friend!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!