Ford Canyon Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,728' 527 m
Descent: -329' -100 m
High: 2,850' 869 m
Low: 1,442' 440 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“A moderately strenuous trail that captures the diverse beauty of the White Tank Mountains.”— John Parker
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).
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Land Manager: Maricopa County Parks