Hiking The Waterfall Trail at White Tank Mountains in Arizona

Just 13 minutes away from home here in Arizona lies the White Tank Mountains. Every time I run outside and step outside our neighborhood in Surprise, Arizona, my views are always overshadowed by these glorious rugged mountains that have canyons and ridges within them. These White Tank Mountains are easily accessible to explore through the White Tank Mountain Regional Park and feature a couple hiking trails and a library nearby.

The mountain range, White Tank Mountains, rise to an elevation of about 4,000 ft. and driving through the mountain almost resembled the drive-through views of Saguaro National Park. Last month, my mom and I went over there to do a hike to see the White Tanks up close and personal.

Here’s a map of where to find this trail in the mountain park:

Background on the hike

The hike we did is the waterfall trail. It is 1.8 miles only and it is doable for all skill levels of hiking. The hike starts off on a paved walkway, where you will find many cacti along the path that transforms into rocky dirt pathways. Not far from the start of the trail, there is an area of protected petroglyphs. These petroglyphs are evidence left by the Hohokam people, ancient Native American people that were centered in the state of Arizona, who occupied these areas of the mountains between 500 and 1100 CE. However, some of these petroglyphs may have been created by Meso-Indians from 10,000 years ago. After spotting the petroglyphs, there are also interesting things to point out through the trail such as this open space with rocks clustered together after another to create what used to look like a riverbank.

How to hike it

The views become more captivating as you enter deeper into the trail as it forms canyons that cave around and you can get a nice aerial view of the city of Surprise below you when you turn around. You will also sense the near end of the trail, which contains the waterfall. You can easily hear water running as you approach it and there is a staircase that leads you to the opening of the waterfall. There were streams of water running past this staircase and as you ascend a little bit more. I had to squeeze through this boulder rock to go up closer to the waterfall and at first glance, there was no waterfall running through the granite mountains. There was a little bank of water collected between the granite mountains. I learned that it is actually best to see the waterfall the day after it rains and the waterfall flowing would be more visible.

This hike was not bad though despite the lack of waterfall because the views were great and the granite mountains you’ll see have beautiful tones of white that are too vivid to not intrigue your eyes. If you ever come across White Tank Mountain Regional Park, try this hike out!

If you want to see the waterfall flowing…

A waterfall isn’t always fully flowing in the White Tanks all the time and mostly does not especially during the warm sunny days, but it does on a day of rainfall or a day after there was rain. This is the best time to catch the beautiful waterfall in action! Of course, it’s not as safe when it’s raining a lot to hike there, but I would wait when it calms down to go see it or the day after when the weather has completely cleared up. It’s stunning when it flows!

Make sure you’re wearing sandals (or you could go barefoot) to get through the waters because you’re most likely going to have to get your feet wet to see the waterfall flow. Also, take precautions when you’re walking to get through the falls as you could slip off some rocks you may have to step on and to squeeze through the rock that helps you pass through to see the waterfall.

This is how the waterfall will look after 3 days of rainfall (updated March 14, 2020):

Want to go on this hike? Rent a car!

If you are looking to rent a car for your road trip (if you don’t have one or are not willing to drive your own), using this link to RentalCars.com, you can find the right car (and an affordable one) for you to rent through your hikes. Whether you’re visiting Arizona for your vacation and are planning to do some hikes or you need a car to take you to your planned hikes, RentalCars.com is a great choice to find the perfect car to rent.



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Petroglyphs from the Hohokam people and Meso-Indians

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Those views are amazing! Arizona is on my travel bucket list. I am dying to get out to Havasupai 🙂

    1. Thank you! Arizona is such an amazing state, I am so lucky to live here temporarily. And omg yes, Havasupai looks amazing. Hopefully, one day, I will get a reservation to conquer the hike out there.

  2. How cool! I would love to see the trails in Arizona 😃

  3. I love hiking, sometimes you really look forward to a waterfall at the end (especially if the sun was very hot or the trail was very long) but sometimes the trail is so beautiful and the views so pretty that you don’t even miss the water. I hope to one day hike through Arizona, thanks for sharing this post. 🙂

    1. Yes! Hiking is an amazing activity that not only benefits your body but you get to reward yourself sometimes with beautiful views. I agree, a waterfall at the end of a sunny hot day is also worth it. I hope you get to hike Arizona one day too.

      1. One day… one day.. Nice meeting you. I look forward to reading your blog posts 🙂

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