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Hiking the White Tank Waterfall Trail With Kids

Hiking the White Tank Waterfall Trail with kids is a short and sweet adventure with a fun reward: a seasonal waterfall! Even if there isn’t a waterfall, the scenery is beautiful and there are hieroglyphics along the way. This hike is on our top 10 favorites for kids in Phoenix!

The Waterfall Trail is 1.8 miles in and out (0.9 one way), and is partially paved. The trailhead starts near picnic area #6, with plenty of parking and there are restrooms. The first part of the trail has signs about local plant and animal life. The previously mentioned, hieroglyphics are a short wayside to the right, and pretty cool. Just stay on the path and don’t try to climb the rocks. This is about 0.5 miles along the trail, and it is still paved.

The trail continues deeper in to the valley, and when the pavement ends, you have about 0.4 miles left to the waterfall! Any idea why this area is called the White Tank Mountains? You will begin to see white granite cliffs as you reach the waterfall area. Water pools are called “tinajas” in Spanish, also known as tanks. Thus White Tank Mountains!

Keep an eye out for large and loose rocks on the trail. (We had a couple falls from too much excitement and running.) The end of the trail is steeper but totally possible with littles. Then you’ll come to the pool of water – and hopefully a waterfall too! Let the kids do some safe boulder climbing, have snacks, and then make the short hike back.

We’ve hiked this trail twice, both times in winter. The best times to view a waterfall are the day after a good desert rain. So keep an eye on the weather. Don’t miss the playground and picnic areas across the street from the Waterfall Trail. If you feel so inclined, there’s also the Black Rock Loop Trail to hike, which is mostly flat.

Hiking the White Tank Waterfall Trail with kids requires a $7/car entry fee for day use to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. The park is about 10 minutes west from the 303/Northern Avenue exit (and near Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, one of our favorites!) There are restrooms located at several locations in the park. See the map above for details. The park is open sunrise to sunset.

If open, also make a stop at the White Tank Regional Library, as there’s a fabulous and free nature center just inside. It’s a great place to learn about local wildlife, browse the gift shop, and get information on the Junior Ranger program.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park
20304 W White Tank Mountain Rd
Waddell, AZ 85355
(623) 935-2505


Looking for more kid-approved hikes in the Phoenix area? Check out these reviews!

Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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