Nestled on the western border of the Phoenix-metro area, just before the city gives way to the desert (for now), are the majestic White Tank Mountains. Protected by both Maricopa County and the White Tank Mountains Conservancy, these mountains offer an unrivaled opportunity to explore nature.
Many of the trails here are 5+ miles long or more, and allow hikers access to wilderness-type conditions. However, there are wonderful, short hikes in the White Tank Mountains that are perfect for people short on time, just getting into hiking, and/or looking to explore with their families. All of the trails that I am going to include here have relatively little elevation gain. They are short in length. And they offer perfect opportunities to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert of the White Tank Mountains without dedicating half a day to an excursion.
Why You Should Visit the White Tank Mountains Preserve?
Whether you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, or you are planning a trip to Arizona, you might be wondering – what are the White Tank Mountains? And why would I take the time and resources to visit them?
This range of Sonoran Desert Mountains are located on the western (growing) edge of the Phoenix-Metro area in Buckeye, AZ. They stretch from the north to the south. For much of the last decade, they have marked the boundary between the city and the open desert. For as long as I lived in Phoenix, the White Tank Mountains were a wild place. And before 2022, to reach them, you had to drive to the edge of the city and then take surface roads through farmlands. Once you reached the mountains, you were and still are transported to a more vibrant, biodiverse desert. They were the home of the Sonoran Desert of the past, before Phoenix had grown so large. Today, the mountains are about to be surrounded by city, but they can still teleport you away from the urban area.