Saturday, February 7, 2009
FORD CANYON White Tanks Regional Park Pick a day with blue skies after a healthy rain to hike Ford Canyon because that’s when the barren granite pools in the White Tank Mountains blossom into a wonderland of shimmering reflections. The Ford Canyon trail begins across the road from an immaculate parking area with a restroom and meanders through an open desert plain for two miles before it encounters an imposing sign that warns of treacherous terrain ahead. Experienced hikers wearing boots with good traction will have no trouble scrambling through a narrow gully and down into a rocky gorge where dozens of shallow basins scoured out of the area’s ancient granite retain rainwater that reflects images of the sky and surrounding rock formations. An old concrete dam at the 3-mile mark is the turn around point. An opportunity to enjoy a blue sky above as well as its image shimmering at foot in snowy-white granite pockets is reason enough to visit this local treasure. LENGTH: 6 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 800 feet RATING: moderate GETTING THERE: GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go 18 miles west on I-10 to Loop 303. Go north on 303 to Olive Ave., turn west and follow Olive all the way to the end at the park entrance. Once inside the park, follow White Tank Mountain Road for 3 miles and turn left onto Ford Canyon Road. The signed trailhead is located across the road from picnic Area 9. There is a $6 daily fee per vehicle.