Wednesday, March 17, 2021

White Tank Mountains ~ Northwest Phoenix~ Waddell, Arizona

White Tank Mountains Regional Park ~ Nearly 30,000 acres makes this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valleys west side. The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name. The park offers visitors day use and overnight camping. There are many walking trails including one to view petroglyphs and another to a waterfall. You can also either bring your own horse to ride the trails or rent one from the nearby stables. Day use entry fees are generally $7/carload and camping fees are $32/night which includes the entry fee. Water and 20/30/50amp hookups. No sewer but there is a dump station on site.    GPS coordinates to the entry station ~ 33.566088, -112.496239



The park has a nature center where you can learn about desert creatures on display and family-friendly activities like stargazing.








Even though you're close to civilization, over 15 restaurants are within 5 miles of the park, you get the feeling of being away from it all.

While some of the hiking trails can be challenging, many are level and can be used by anyone. As with any hike, carry water and stay hydrated.

Dogs are allowed on leash and remember to please clean up after your pet. Even though it's the desert, many of the dwellers of the desert may contract harmful bacteria or worse from your pet's waste. Besides, it's the proper thing to do.




Petroglyphs found in the park date back 10,000 years, but the Hohokam were the first people to call it home. These predominate hunter-gatherers built seven villages, ranging in size from one to 75 acres, during their stay in the area from 500 to 1100 AD. Petroglyphs, or rock carvings are reminders of their time here.

Waterfall Canyon gets it's name from, (drum roll please) waterfalls. Unfortunately, water only falls right after a rainfall, otherwise it's just rock outcroppings.  The trail to the waterfall is still spectacular and offers wonderful views.



Hiking is very popular and the park offers many trails from easy to difficult. The waterfall trail is just short of 2 miles, round trip, but is a very easy trail. Even though you may not see the waterfall it's still a worthwhile hike as you go through Petroglyph Plaza before you get to the waterfall.

Of course, hiking is just one of the fun things you can do at the park. Mountain biking,horseback riding, stargazing and just relaxing are some things to enjoy while you're there.

There are currently 40 camping sites that can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet in length, and all have water, electrical hook-ups, a picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire ring.The park's address is 20304 W White Tank Mountain Rd, Waddell, AZ 85355.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

South Mountain Park ~ Phoenix, Arizona

We will start by offering views from the highest point in the Valley of the Sun. South Mountain Park.

At more than 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park/Preserve is one of the largest municipally managed parks in the nation and consists of three mountain ranges - the Ma Ha Tauk, Gila and Guadalupe. The park boasts more than 50 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Additionally, the roadways throughout the park are a favorite for bicyclists.  

Dobbins Lookout, at 2,330 feet, is the highest point in the park that is available to the public. Accessed by both hiking trails and Summit Rd., the lookout is popular with tourists and locals, who want to get an unobstructed panoramic view of the Valley. There is no camping at the park but there are many, many hiking/biking trails. A word of caution is the speed within the park. The roads are narrow and winding and you'll find yourself sharing the road with hiker and bicycles. Use caution on the hairpin turns. There are many picnic tables throughout the park so be sure to pack a lunch. Always carry water and stay hydrated.





While Dobbins Lookout is the highest point in the park available to visitors, the radio/TV towers occupy the top of the mountain.






Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona, with 1,680,992 people. It is also the fifth-most populous city in the United States, and boasts as the only capital city with more than 1 million population. 

No, that's not a sundial. It's a directory of what you can see from Dobbins Lookout. Embossed around the plaque are various locations in the valley below.






Overview of the City of Phoenix. Camelback Mountain, another favorite hiking mountain is visible in the background. It gets it's name because it appears to be a camel laying on the ground.






View of the Valley of the Sun through one of the windows at Dobbins Lookout. 

Looking West towards Avondale, home of Phoenix International Raceway where NASCAR races are held. There is camping available at the raceway and it is venue to FMCA and Camping World rallies.



                          No post would be complete without a picture of my beautiful wife!




 Of course, my wife wanted to be sure I included a picture of Bailey. She's sitting on my lap. I'm just fodder for the picture.

Looking South toward Tucson. The land around the south and east side of South Mountain is all Indian land. Loop 202, a freeway that encircles Phoenix was just recently completed. The connection between I-10 from Tucson and I-10 to Los Angeles traverses the Indian Land and this section was the final addition. If coming from either, the 202 will bypass Phoenix altogether.

Horseback riding and hay rides are available at the entrance to the park. While we skipped this attraction, we did follow them for several miles as they do use the roadway. Notice the no passing double yellow line.

Getting to the park is very easy. Phoenix is set up as a grid city. This means most roads are north/south or east/west and are as straight as an arrow. The main road is Central Avenue which cuts through the middle of the city. Avenues are west of Central Ave. while Streets are east of  it. Easy huh? Anyway, get on any easy/west street and head to Central Avenue. Turn south on Central and South Mountain Park is at the terminus of Central Ave. You can see the TV towers anywhere in the valley so you'll never get lost.

Getting Around the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix, Arizona

Since we've been locked down in Mesa, Arizona this year, I've spent some time doing upgrades to the coach that I've wanted to do for some time. (See previous posts) We both contracted Covid this year and have recovered completely. So, as part of our personal wellness program, we decided we would take one day each week which would be a 'tourist' day visiting the many parks and locations around the Phoenix area. On the following pages I've posted pictures of the various parks we've visited along with a short narrative of each location.  Today, I'll simply let you enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets you'll ever see.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you're in the Phoenix area, please plan on visiting the beautiful locations following this post.....Dennis