Trail Run Project Logo

Ford Canyon Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

7.4 mile 11.9 kilometer point to point
91% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,728' 527 m
Descent: -329' -100 m
High: 2,850' 869 m
Low: 1,442' 440 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by John Parker

A moderately strenuous trail that captures the diverse beauty of the White Tank Mountains.

John Parker

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

A day use fee of $6 per vehicle is require at the park entrance.

The park is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Runner Notes

Be careful of your footing as the terrain is uneven, rocky, and sometimes exposed to steep drop offs. Slips and falls on this trail could be life threatening.

Description

This trail is within the White Tanks Mountain Regional Park. It is one of the most fascinating trails in the park due to the variety of scenery and terrain. It can be traveled as an out-and-back trail or as part of a loop that utilizes the Willow Canyon and Mesquite Canyon trails. Challenging terrain and beautiful views abound on this trail so be sure to bring adequate water and a camera.

The trail begins in the flat desert plain near the base of the mountains at what is known as the trailhead staging area. There is ample parking, a few picnic tables, and a portable toilet for last minute preparations before beginning your run. The first three miles of trail are relatively flat and well maintained which makes for a pleasant run for everyone in the family, including small children. After mile three, you come upon a signpost which cautions travelers of the hazardous conditions ahead. This is where things begin to get interesting, as the trail narrows and starts gaining elevation quickly. Some unique rock formations can be seen on this portion of the trail. Be on the lookout for one that resembles the profile of a man’s head looking up at the clouds.

Following the rocky hillside above Ford Canyon, the trail gets steep and narrow in some spots so be careful of your footing. Then, entering the bottom of the canyon, it makes its way through a winding riverbed filled with large rock and sand. Some of the rocks may require you to use your hands, but it isn’t too difficult or dangerous if your experienced and careful.

At about mile 4.5, the canyon reaches an old abandoned dam. This is a good place to take a rest, have a snack and turn around if you’re not interested in completing the loop. If you continue up the canyon, some well placed trail markers lead you up and out of the canyon. The trail then winds around the rolling hills until it passes Willow Canyon Trail and ends at the intersection of Mesquite Canyon and Goat Camp Trail.

If you are planning on running the loop, continue to either Willow Canyon Trail or Mesquite Canyon Trail which will take you back to the trailhead.

This is a beautiful and challenging trail. You should know your limits before venturing out. It is quite secluded the farther out you go so bring adequate water, food, and a cell phone (service is available the entire trail).

Flora & Fauna

A variety of desert plants and cacti are plentiful. Watch for mule deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds. Be careful where you put your hands and feet since there are quite a few rattlesnakes out there!

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Land Manager: Maricopa County Parks

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 6 votes

#8661

Overall
  3.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
83%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#312

in Arizona

#8,661

Overall
28 Views Last Month
895 Since Dec 5, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
50%
17%
33%
0%

Photos

Ol’ man Ford - one of the unique rock formations along the trail
Jan 23, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
Well maintained trails
Jan 28, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
The rocky/sandy bottom of the canyon that makes up a portion of the trail.
Jan 23, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
Looking back down the Canyon
Jan 23, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
An old abandoned dam
Jan 23, 2018 near Citrus…, AZ
The trail
Dec 7, 2017 near Citrus…, AZ

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running