Ford Canyon Loop Trail

HARD 144 reviews

Ford Canyon Loop Trail is a 9.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Waddell, Arizona that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1482 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

This is a tough hike! If temperatures are above 90 degrees, you will need more than 3L of water (assuming you hike it in a loop with Willow and Mesquite Canyon trails). This trail is the most interesting in the White Tanks because of its seclusion and varying scenery. You will hike through a sandy wash bottom, climb boulders, and see an old earthen dam.

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome hike!

hiking
20 days ago

We did a 9.5 mile loop from Area 7 counterclockwise via the Waddell, Ford Cyn, Willow to Mesquite. Beautiful hike with lots of variety including a little boulder scrambling and lots of vista scenery. Not as difficult as reviewed. Took us a little over 4 hours with time to take in the views.

hiking
22 days ago

I was a little apprehensive to do this hike because of the hazardous trail warnings printed on the park trail map and because a few reviews said it wasn't clearly marked. I'm so glad I did it anyway. It was a great hike.

I started and ended at the Trailhead Staging Area and did a counterclockwise circuit of Ford to Willow to Mesquite. That put me right at 11 miles, which I completed in about four hours - stopping to take photos a few times.

The first half of the hike is a lot of fun with lots of changing landscape. There is some scrambling in the riverbed but it's very minimal - nothing that made me even a little uncomfortable (and I scare easily). You will want to wear shoes with good traction.

From my direction, I had no trouble following the trail (and I've been known to miss some turns). Some might be concerned about the lack of trail markers during the riverbed section, but just keep following the wash - you'll see the trail markers to lead you out when it's time. I didn't have one moment of uncertainty. I felt comfortable the entire route.

The second half of the hike doesn't have the same varying scenery, but it still has some great views. It is very exposed, so take more water than you think you'll need. I packed a little more than I usually do and was wishing for more by the end. Next time I'll pack 3x my normal amount.

In total, I came across eight groups of hikers and one pair of mountain bikers - so it felt pretty secluded but not completely isolated. It was a lot of fun and I'll definitely do it again.

28 days ago

Awesome.

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

We camped in January and hiked part of the Ford Canyon Loop trail. We started out at the Ironwood trail near our campsite and went to the abandoned dam and back. About a 7 or 8 mile hike in and back out. Lots of climbing and exploring on this!

hiking
1 month ago

Did the Mesquite to Willow to Ford Canyon 10 mile loop. I’m in okay shape and was pretty beat on the home stretch.

1 month ago

After reading so many good reviews on the trail I decided to hike the Ford canyon for a quick hike. I loved the views and really had to be sure I watched where I stepped to ensure I did not trip over the rocks in the path. It was a wonderful quick hike to just before it warns you of hazardous conditions. I can not wait to tackle this trail again this week and make the full loop.

hiking
2 months ago

We love this trail. Me and my kids take it often, but please don't mistake; I'm an experienced hiker and I pack my youngest on my back, with a climbing pack full of supplies. This is NOT a leisurely hike...If you plan to take your kids, make sure that the WHOLE family has experience.

2 months ago

A very good hike with nice views. keep a close eye out for the trail markers; easy to take a wrong turn.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike except for the tarantula wasps by dam.

2 months ago

Always a good hike

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome day, cloudy, a bit of rain so great. Saw 12 mule deer. a bit of scramble, 2 up and downs.

hiking
3 months ago

Very fun trail! I did the Ford Canyon and mesquite canyon trail (approx 13 miles). There is no shade and no water on the trail. It was 100 degrees at the end of the hike when I did it (oct 2017). I drank about 1 liter of water per hour. The majority of the trail is rocky, proper footwear is a must!

I would rate the trail as moderately difficult (3 out of 5). For comparison, I would rate Humphrey’s Peak 5/5 due to altitude, steepness, and length. Picacho Peak I would also give 5/5 for steepness. Camelback a 4/5.

On the map that was given to me at the ranger station they mention there is a “hazardous trail” around mile marker 5.25. I did not note any hazardous conditions. Perhaps the trail was moved after the map was printed.

Also, a portion of the trail goes up a river bed. If this is hiked during monsoon season or after a lot of rain it would be more difficult. There are a few spots in this section where it is easy to lose the trail.

3 months ago

Nice trail. Great pics of cactus of all kinds.

6 months ago

One of my favorite trails on the White Tanks...there are a bunch of geocache hidden all along the trail which makes for a fun extra adventure alongside of the beautiful scenery!!!

hiking
6 months ago

My first hike since I moved to PHX, and I would definitely do this hike again. Was expecting it to be a little more challenging though with it rated as a level hard. But a nice almost 10 mile hike none the less.

7 months ago

getting up to the damn took a bit but by the time I got up there it was all mystical, butterflies flying water puddles everywhere beautiful damn good place.

8 months ago

Love this trail for distance running. Requires good eye/foot coordination!

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, a bit of climbing up and over smooth rock - good traction is a must, if you bring a dog there will be spots you'll have to help Fido climb a bit, but doable. Sun exposure high, heard a rattle off the trail and a large Gila Monster crossed the path! Park opens at 6. Great workout, fantastic views.

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