Day Hike – White Tank Mountains

If you are wondering, like I was…

…why were the “White Tank Mountains” given that name?

White Tank Mountains in Central Arizona

White Tank Mountains in Central Arizona

Apparently it goes back to the mid to late 1800’s.  It was right after gold was discovered in central Arizona. One of the first roads from the Gila River area to Wickenburg and Prescott, was created along a popular trail that utilized a water source in the middle of the desert.  The water source was in a natural mountain setting which had a basin filled with water all year long.  This area and basin in particular was rich with white granite.  So it received it’s name from it’s natural appearance.

Shot up Tank

Shot up Tank

I thought maybe it was from this large tank I spotted along the trail I hiked, which was the “Waterfall Trail”.  It stirred my curiosity so I did a little research when I got back home.  I was wrong, but I find the recent history of the last 100-200 years here quite interesting.  Also interesting is the Ancient Indian history of this area.

Many of the petroglyphs found along the way are from the Hohokam Indians.  Roughly 500 AD to 1100 AD, others are attributed to unknown tribes of  up to 10,000 years ago.  The Yavapai Indians are the most recent tribes of this area according to some of the sources I researched for this hike.

The Dessert "Meadow"

The Desert “Meadow”

I chose the Waterfall Trail for…

…an easy morning hike that I found interesting due to the history.  This hike is suitable for even younger children, but definitely keep an eye on them due to the critters in this area.  Especially as the weather heats up.  The nature center at the entrance to this regional park of 30,000 acres, has some live specimens on exhibit.  WaterfallAt the end of about a mile you will see the “Waterfall” which is mostly dry other than right after a rainy day.  There is a small trickle of water running down the waterfall, however I suspect there is more you can’t see, as at the bottom of the waterfall has a rather cold basin or “tank”, probably waist high.

I took a number of photos of others along the trail and at the waterfall, one nice couple returned the favor.

Taking a break at the falls

Taking a break at the falls

On the way back out, I stopped to capture the surrounding beauty, Including this bloom, not quite full yet.

I hope to experience the desert in full bloom before I move north in a couple of weeks.  There are other hiking opportunities at this huge regional park, maybe I will return again someday to explore.


Until next time, safe travels…

sources: eHow.comWikipedia.orgHistory of  Waddell, AZ



3 replies

  1. Yes it is, more than I imagined. Full of life, especially now after a rain and going into Spring. I have driven through deserts many times in my life but never really got out and experienced it. Now I am.


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