Want a quick hike that will satisfy the outdoor crave? Located in the heart of Phoenix, The Summit Trail at Piestewa Peak is a relatively easy hike for well-conditioned hikers and offers spectacular views of the thriving metropolis below. It’s always waiting when the hiking urge strikes. Piestewa Peak was originally known as Squaw Peak and was renamed in 2004 in honor of Lori Piestewa, a Hopi Indian woman who was the first Native American woman to die in an American war. She was killed in the Iraq Conflict.
Climbing Piestewa Peak at night offers incredible views of the night lit Phoenix skyline, but it’s wise to try the hike during daylight hours before making a nighttime climb. Don’t forget your flashlight. There are places one could get real lost if there are no other hikers to follow.
Piestewa attracts 4,000 to 10,000 hikers weekly that challenge the 1.2-mile trail as it gains over 1200 feet in elevation. Although not particularly difficult, the quick gain in elevation requires good physical condition. Depending upon the skill of the hiker and how often he or she stops to enjoy the views, the hike typically takes about 30 minutes to 1 and 1/2 hours. The trail conveniently locates stone bench rest stops where weary hikers can catch their breath or take memorable photos.
Much of the terrain on Summit Trail can be loose and slippery, so be sure to wear a good pair of hiking shoes or boots with good traction and ankle support. Also wear athletic and comfortable clothing fitting the weather. Remember, the climate in Phoenix can reach high temperatures during the summer months. Be careful of the cacti. Their sharp spiney needles can do damage.
Absolutely bring bottled water to replenish lost fluids and it’s wise to take granola bars or small-sized snacks to replace body fuel. Be courteous to other hikers and always allow faster hikers to pass, particularly along with narrow areas on the trail. Taking a cell phone is a good idea in case you encounter problems.
Hikers to the summit of Piestewa Peak will be rewarded with amazing views across the Phoenix horizon.
Trail 300 – Summit Trail
Trail Length: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Elevation: 1,400 to 2,608 feet
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Getting To Piestewa Peak.
Turn east on Squaw Peak Drive from Lincoln Drive between 22nd and 24th streets in Phoenix. The Summit Trailhead is located in the parking lot at the first driveway on the left in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. Drinking water and restrooms are available. Note that dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the Summit Trail at Piestewa.