Pool at the base of Waterfall Canyon: Feb. 12, 2013
Approaching the slot canyon
How many people can fit into the 12′ x 12′ box canyon at the end of White Tank Mountain Park’s Waterfall Trail?By my observations, at least 16–while a constant que waits on deck to rotate in.Perhaps a better question might be; what on earth could possibly be so interesting that 16 people would cram into such a place?Welcome to one of Arizona’s premier mostly-barrier-free hiking destinations. This extraordinary trail’s popularity is bolstered by its wide, flat surface which is advertised as suitable for strollers, wheelchairs and walkers for at least the first 0.6-mile.However, I’ve seen wheeled trekkers make it all the way up to the final 300 yards where a set of stone stairs leads to the box canyon—and beyond with a little assistance.This is a beautiful thing.Because so many of Arizona’s special hiking trails require physical stamina and equipment lists beyond the scope of casual day trippers, it’s good to know that Waterfall Canyon offers a glimpse of desert splendor to anyone willing to get out oftheir car.Besides the sometimes-flowing-sometime-not waterfall, galleries of ancient rock art line the entire route. “Petroglyph plaza”–an open-air amphitheater with benches–displays several major design panels with trailside signs explaining their significance.
Just below the waterfall, another considerable heritage site includes an eclectic mix of astronomical, hunting and magical designs tapped into boulders.Here, the trail meets stone stairs for a short climb to the waterfall box canyon.Inside, a trio ofstone walls, worn smooth by a million rainy seasons, jut vertically skyward from awhite sand beach and plunge pool echoing a serinade of digital camera clicks and whizzes.
Crowd in Waterfall Canyon
LENGTH: 2 miles round-trip
RATING: easy, barrier-free up to the last 300 yards.
ELEVATION: 1500′ – 1700′
DOGS: leashed dogs are allowed
FEE: $6 daily fee per vehicle
From Phoenix, go 18 miles west on I10 Loop 303.Go north and contnue on 303 to Olive.Turn left (west) on Olive and proceed 4 miles to the park entrance. Once in the park, follow the main road (White Tank Mountain Rd) 2 miles to Waterfall Canyon Road.Turn left and go 0.4 mile to the signed trailhead on the left.NOTE: 2013 road construction plans may cause detours.Visit thepark web site or call ahead for details.
Art in “petroglyph plaza”
INFO: White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Waddell AZ 623-935-2505
Bio: Serial blogger, manic hiker and “mom” to a dozen adopted dogs, Mare Czinar has been exploring Arizona trails for more than 20 years. After being led astray (or just plain confused) by outdated hiking books and online resources (hence the tagline: We got lost, so you don’t have to), Czinar sought to create a fully vetted, frequently updated online hike travelogue with current driving and hiking directions to spare fellow hikers the mental and physical wear-and-tear of aimless wandering.
In addition, blog entries are amended when road closures or wildfires restrict trail access. When not working, blogging, writing about the great outdoors or picking up dog poo, Czinar attempts to “stay found” while checking out new trails.