The unique combination of mountains and desert are ideal for hikers that love to explore the Phoenix outdoors. There are over 26,000 acres and several hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the Greater Phoenix AZ and Scottsdale area. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert hiker, there is a perfect trail for you.
Many Phoenix hiking trails also permit biking and horseback riding on the same trails. The urban city area has great hikes for vacationers and visitors within close driving distance of hotels and resorts. Trek to the top of the mountains and enjoy views of the skyline. Take an easy hike in lush desert valleys without ever leaving the city.
The best time to hike is October through April when temperatures are most ideal. Hiking during the hot summer months can become a bit risky unless you head out very early or late evening. Take plenty of water and keep in mind that rattlesnakes do exist on the trails. Check the average monthly temperatures in Phoenix.
The following hiking trails are some of the most popular Phoenix hikes and most convenient. Phoenix has been rated as one of the best hiking cities in the country by National Geographic. These easy urban escapes are all located minutes from downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.
There are two hiking trails. Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail. Both are strenuous and difficult with areas requiring some boulder scrambling. Echo Canyon is steeper and the Cholla Trailhead is slightly longer.
Caution. Hikers should not attempt climbs to the summit unless they are experienced and in good health. Every year there are many rescues of those not in shape or that venture from the designated trails. There are shorter, easy sections, so inexperienced hikers can limit hikes to the early segments. The summer heat can be dangerous and hikes should only be attempted very early or late in the evening. Plenty of water and good hiking shoes or boots are required.
More Information. Click here for detailed Camelback Mountian Hiking information including a map, hiking trail descriptions, address location, pictures and trail parking information.
Ranger Office: (602) 261-8318
Piestewa Peak (Squaw Peak) at Dreamy Draw Park
Summit Trail is the most popular with an elevation gain of over 1,200 feet. Those that reach the summit of Piestewa Peak are rewarding with fantastic views. Dogs on leash are permitted on all trails. Parking, picnic areas and restrooms are available.
More Information. Click here for more information about Piestewa Peak including hiking trail descriptions, photos, directions and map.
Ranger Office: (602) 261-8318
2701 East Squaw Peak Lane / 2421 East Northern Avenue
North Mountain Park Hiking
North Mountain Park features 5 self-guided hiking trails including the Penny Howe, Shaw Butte, Maxin Lakin, North Mountain, and Charles M. Christiansen Memorial. These five hiking trails range in level of difficulty from easy to difficult, traversing over 20 miles of desert terrain. All trails are multi-use including hiking, biking and horseback riding.
North Mountain and Shaw Butte reach heights of just over 2,100 feet with spectacular panoramic views of the Phoenix area. Paved parking, picnic areas and restrooms are available. Parking lot hours are 5:00 AM to 7 PM or sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first.
More Information. Click here for more detailed information about North Mountain and Shaw Butte including hiking trail descriptions, photos, directions and map.
Ranger Office: 602-262-7901
10600 North 7th Street (between Peoria and Thunderbird Roads)
Papago Park Hiking
There are several picnic ramadas surrounding a 7.8 acre lagoon that is regularly stocked with fish. Be sure to get a required urban fishing license. Pagago Park is also home to the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. The Park’s desert hiking trails meander more than 5 miles across the park with little elevation gain. It’s perfect for the entire family to go hiking and spend the day relaxing.
More Information. See the City of Phoenix Papago Park Information of guidelines, Ramada use and maps. Call (602) 261-8318 for general information. Located at Van Buren Street and Galvin Parkway.
Reach 11 Recreation Area
Reach 11 is a 1,500-acre horse lover’s park, but has a Barrier-Free Access Nature Trail that is strictly for hiking that prohibits horses and bikes. This is a perfect equestrian park that includes a 90-acre equestrian facility with four lighted arenas and 18 miles of wide, multi-use trails. The park terrain is relatively flat with minor grade changes at wash crossings. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset.
More Information. Click here for more information about Reach 11 Recreation Area including hiking trail descriptions, photos, directions and maps.
General Information: (602) 534-6265 North of the Central Arizona Project Canal between Cave Creek and Scottsdale Road. Primary access points to the park are provided at Tatum Boulevard, Cave Creek Road, 56th Street and Scottsdale Road.
South Mountain Park and Preserve
Trails range from easy to difficult depending upon a specific trail or trail portion and reach peaks of over 2,300 feet featuring views of the Phoenix skyline. This is a great place to experience ancient Indian petroglyphs that are spread throughout the park. South Mountain is also home to the Phoenix Mystery Castle.
At the Park’s main entrance, you can drive up winding Summit Road 5.5 miles to Dobbins Lookout. The road is shared with cars, bikers and hikers that winds through steep sections with blind curves. There are several well-maintained Ramada picnic areas with restrooms. Gated roadways, parking areas, Ramadas and restrooms are open from 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM, but the trails remain open until 11:00 PM.
More Information. Click here for more information about South Mountain including hiking trail descriptions, photos, directions and maps.
Ranger Office: (602) 262-7393
10919 S. Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85042
Pima Canyon Entrance:
9904 South 48th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85044