With close to 17,000 acres, it’s no wonder that Phoenix, Arizona’s South Mountain Park has been referred to as the world’s largest municipal park. Founded in 1924, the area was first called Phoenix Mountain Park. As additional acreage was added over the subsequent decade, the park began to be called South Mountain by the many residents who came to spend their leisure time relaxing at their mesmerizing city park.
South Mountain Park Features.
The park boasts a variety of natural wonders that include its pristine mountainous landscape and desert vegetation. Some of the park’s important plant species include saguaro cactus, brittlebrush, and palo verde trees. The park is also home to coyotes, foxes, snakes, lizards, and various birds. The summit of the mountain contains more than fifty miles where visitors come to hike, bike, or just enjoy the view. The park’s lookout point is over one thousand feet above the desert below so there are many fine views to be enjoyed from various points of interest.
Located within the park’s foothills is the famed Mystery Castle. This dwelling is home to the founder’s daughter. The structure is a conglomeration of stone, adobe, cement, and some say goat milk that forms a castle-like home. Built for by Boyce Gulley during the 1930s for his daughter, the home’s interior is no longer open for tours, but many visitors still marvel at the exterior view.
Things To Do at South Mountain Park.
The park contains various ramadas that are open to large groups. Many groups come to South Mountain Park to picnic and hold many kinds of celebrations. Others come to the park to enjoy hiking and biking. The park boasts fifty-eight miles of trails that range from intermediate to difficult. Others prefer to let their horses do the work; horseback riding is also a popular activity during the summer months. Others come to the park simply to enjoy the great scenery and the terrific views from various locales around the mountain and to relax among family and friends.
The Park’s Environmental Education Center.
The park also boasts an education center that provides information about the natural beauty and diversity of the Sonoran Desert. The center provides considerable information about the trails, trail maps, a reading room, ranger-led programs and events, and other educational resources.
Getting To South Mountain Park.
Located south of Phoenix along Central Avenue, visitors can access the park from the north, east, and west by I-17 or I-10. Its official address is 10919 South Central Avenue.