Top 4 Hikes in Phoenix
Phoenix was ranked one of the best hiking cities in America by National Geographic. This is because there are several peaks to hike in the city itself. This means that you can have it all! You can have all the amenities of big city living, while having the calm escape of nature right in your backyard. Here we chose the top 4 hiking areas in Phoenix to get you started!
To hike Camelback Mountain you don’t have to go far. Located in between Old Town Scottsdale and the Biltmore in Phoenix, the mountain gives easy access to trails and quality hiking. It sits 1,400 feet above its base and is at an elevation of 2,704 ft offering a perfect eagle-eye perspective of The Valley of the Sun. Hikers can bag an early morning hike or run up Camelback and be back down in time for brunch. Viewable from the Northeast horizon of Phoenix, this mountain is not only fun to hike, but is named appropriately due to it’s camel like shape from a distance. If you are looking for easy to moderate hikes check out Bobby’s Rock Trail or the Ramada Loop Trail. If you are looking for something more iconic try the Cholla Trail or Echo Canyon Trail. Both are more difficult though Cholla is longer and Echo Canyon is steeper.
South Mountain stretches over 16,000 acres on the south end of Phoenix making it is the largest municipal park in the U.S. There are endless ways to explore and enjoy this desert treasure such as hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, paragliding and even just taking a nice, scenic weekend drive with the family. If you are looking for an easy to moderate trail make sure to do the Javelina Canyon Trail. This 1.7 mile trail that leads you through rolling hills and is only a gradual elevation climb. If you are looking for a more difficult trail check out Mormon Trail. Shorter in length at 1.2 miles, it is still challenging. Both trails connect to Mormon Loop and other trail systems if you decide you want a longer hiking experience.
- South Mountain Trail Map
- Driving Directions to South Mountain Main Entrance
- Driving Directions to Pima Entrance
Piestawa Peak (AKA "Squaw Peak")
Sitting at 2,608 ft. elevation, this peak was shaped over 14 million years ago. To get to the top you will make a 1,190 feet gain in elevation from the base while enjoying the natural flora and fauna typical of the lower Sonoran Desert. Piestawa Peak is located in north-central Phoenix and is just off Highway 51. If you are looking for a more casual hiking day there is Dreamy Draw Nature Trail with is rated easy to moderate and is 1.5 miles long. If you are looking for more of a challenge Freedom Trail is 3.7 miles long and rated moderate to difficult. Both are quality hikes and will get you into the beautiful Phoenix Desert.
The park surrounding this peak consists of 150 acres of land in north Scottsdale. The park and peak have free access and parking like all the others. The Peak it self is located 600 feet above the desert floor, but be aware that the hiking trail does not lead to a summit. You can take Pinnacle Peak Park Trail to an elevation gain of 1,300 ft. but to go any further you must have rock climbing equipment and knowledge. Whether you climb or simply hike the peak, you get a smooth 1.75 mile trail that leads you through gradual ups and downs while you take in the beautiful scenery around you.
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