Steward Information Sheets

Why ae they called the White Tank Mountains?


Indians in the White Tank Mountains



Wild Fires

Why are they called the White Tank Mountains?

In 1863, when gold was discovered in central Arizona, one of the first roads heading north into that region passed by the eastern side of the mountain range.  This road stretched from the Gila River into the new towns of Wickenburg and Prescott.  The road followed an old trail that took advantage of an important source of water in the middle of the desert.  In the northeast portion of the White Tank mountains was a natural basin or ‘tank’ that held water year-round.  Named the ‘White Tank’ for the white granite cliffs surrounding it, this large natural watering hole appears on maps and in journals as an important watering place from 1863 on.

Why can’t I go see the White Tank?

The White Tank was destroyed sometime between 1898 and 1902.  Heavy rains caused the collapse of the cliff above the tank, filling it in.  The exact location of the tank is now a mystery.  Today, the mountains boast many smaller tanks and springs, but the original tank that gave the mountains their name, and its exact location, has been lost.


There were hundreds of mining claims throughtout the White Tank Mountains beginning as early as 1878. Gold, silver, and copper were all mined here at one time. Most of the operations were very small, as none of the mines were rich enough to begin large scale mining operations. At least two mine owners sold stock in their mining company.

Mine names include; Goldwn Eagle, Gila Gold Lode, Joe Dandy, Union, Lookout, and Eureka. Many mines were named for women. One miner must have run out of ideas for names and registered his new mine, the Don’t Know.