I am excited that hiking is a big part of outdoor life in Phoenix! In the Phoenix area there are 12 Maricopa county parks and 10 state parks all with numerous trails. I have two parks within 30 minutes. Yay!
I decided I wanted to increase the length and difficultly that I could hike. I joined a meet up group that takes longer and more difficult hikes. We hike in the White Tank mountain park (west of Phoenix) and in some parks located north of Phoenix.
A couple of weeks ago we hiked the mesquite & willow Canyon Loop at White Tank Mountains. It is an 8.5 mile hike with the frontt half having a steep accent. I knew this would be challenging for me mainly due to length but decided to give it a try.
We met at picnic area #7 at 7 am and headed out on Mesquite Canyon loop the most difficult part of the hike. Sorry no pictures of trail head but my early morning brain was coming up short. Actually I did not do a super job on this hike in the picture department but there is always next time.
As we started up the trail was wide, level, and well maintained.
A couple of the views from Mesquite Canyon.
This one is my favorite. Desert hiking has it own kind of beauty!
We went off-trail to rest and snack by a natural spring that was close to the half-way point. Yes, there is actually water in Arizona! Probably a good swimming hole after the rains in August but now not so much.
Can you find the desert beauty in the picture below?
An opportunist growing in the rocks above the spring!
Not to far ahead we spotted a Gila monster with bright pinkish markings. We were quite excited because they are a rare site to see.
Mesquite Canyon Trail ends at 4 miles and 1600 ft elevation. We had gained 1394 ft on the way up. I was feeling some pain by this point. On to Willow Canyon Trail!!
A few pics I took along the trail.
I am looking forward to my next hike as I try to find my favorite desert trail here in outdoor Phoenix.
Do you have a favorite place to hike?