With cooler temperatures quickly approaching in the Valley of the Sun, there’s never been a better time to grab your gear and head out for a hike. From scenic to rugged, Phoenix has something for everyone. But with so many choices, how do you know if you’re picking the right spot? Here are a few favorites for locals and visitors alike that’ll give you your hiking fix.
Remember before you head out to read up on any closures and restrictions at the trail you’d like to visit. The City of Phoenix website is one of the best resources for information. Also, bring plenty of water and other supplies with you just in case. Even though Phoenix cools off in the winter months, it is still a desert out there.
This is easily one of the most iconic hikes in the Phoenix area, and it’s perfect for visitors who want a great view. Located in the middle of the Phoenix area, Camelback Mountain is uniquely qualified to give you a stunning perspective of the valley below. You can choose from either the steep Echo Canyon trail or the calmer Cholla trail. This hike is also likely to be one of the busiest, so don’t expect seclusion here.
Hiking at Piestewa Peak can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort. At just over a mile long, Summit Trail #300 at Piestewa Peak gives hikers a 360-degree of both Phoenix and Scottsdale, assuming you climb all the way to the top. Visitors who like an easy workout tend to stay closer to the bottom of the trail, which still gives plenty of room to explore the Sonoran landscape.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Not only does McDowell Mountain Regional Park offer a broad range of trails for hiking, it also gives visitors options for mountain biking and horseback riding as well. There’s 40 miles to play with here, so you’ll find anything from a half mile trail to more than 15 miles. This hiker’s heaven is all about the scenery along the way. For an easier hike, try North Trail.
South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park is without a doubt the biggest outdoor playground Phoenix has to offer, boasting itself as one of the largest municipal parks in the nation. The most popular trails out here are Judith Tunnel Accessible Trail (the easiest), the Mormon Trail and the Kiwanis Trail. Visitors also get the chance to spot some Hohokam Rock Art along all three trails if they look closely.
Papago Park is known for its bizarre sandstone buttes and cultural footprint from the Hohokam Indians. Hiking here is leisurely, more like a stroll than anything else. The most famous spot is the Hole-in-the-Wall trail, which leads to a unique rock formation that’ll give you a great view of the city and a history lesson at the same time. This one is a favorite for families.