Gorgeous Weather Calls for Some Hiking!

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: March 19, 2015

Top Hiking Trails In Phoenix

It’s that time of the year again where the weather is absolutely perfect! The sky is blue without a cloud in the sky, the breeze is just right with the warming sun and everything is beginning to bloom all around us!

You don’t have to be in a state where the colors change to see gorgeous vegetation and mountain ranges – right here in Arizona we have a Spring that is breathtaking and excellent for scenic hikes across the state. It is hard to find any short two to three hour hike that is any better than one of the top hiking trails in Phoenix.

For the avid hikers out there, we’re sure that you have a few hiking trails that would put to shame any postcard picture you’ve seen of the desert. But for those read this article that are new to hiking…Or new to the outdoors… or new to leaving the house in general (get off the couch already!), we have a great compilation of the top hiking trails in Phoenix.

You’ll find that depending on your grade of experience some of these hikes are fairly long and steep while others are just right for a nice leisurely stroll. Most state parks have a variety of trails to choose from.

Additionally, you will find general safety tips for hiking in the desert land – terrain and critters will vary depending on where you are so we HIGHLY recommend stopping into the local information shop at the state park you are visiting. Park rangers and other experts will equip you with the knowledge of the landscape you need to have an awesome hike!

Top Hiking Trails in Phoenix:

1. Camelback Mountain Summit Trail: 2.2 Miles/2 Hours

This is a nice, quick, steep, leg-burner for those who seek a good challenge to get the heart racing. Definitely bring plenty of water and your best hiking shoes for this trail

People Talk! “Best hike in Phoenix. Great workout, get’s very busy but the trail is usually pleasant all year around.”

2. Mormon Loop Trail: 5 Miles/3.5 Hours

This trail features beautiful wild flowers along your hike for your pleasure. It is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. A big plus for this trail is that dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.

People Talk! ”Great hike to bring kids. Always a fun hike with a great parking area.”

3. Piestewa Peak: 2.2 Miles/2 Hours

Although this hike has beautiful scenery including wildflowers along the way, it is rated as difficult so beginner hikes be warned this may be a trail to skip!

People Talk! “It’s a challenging hike but worth every stair climb to the top. I did feel like it
was crowded but that’s just a part of hiking in Phoenix.”

*Featured photo was taken at the top of Piestewa Peak*

4. Papago Park: 2.2 Miles/1 Hours

This trail features a an awesome cave and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking & mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Woof!

People Talk! “Perfect for learning how to hike and trail run and bike. Simple trails with gorgeous sunset views. A lot of locals hang out here and everyone is always nice!”

5. South Mountain National Trail: 14.3 Miles/6 Hours

This trail crosses South Mountain Park from the east to the west ends and intersects with most of the other trails in the park. This is a very scenic hike with moderate ups and downs along the way. Most of the traffic is on the east half of the trail. Although over 14 miles, it is mainly endurance preparation not difficulty. Nonetheless, this should NOT be
your first hike!

People Talk! “Probably my favorite trail in the Valley! Lots of technical areas and rock gardens strewn across this 15mi beauty. Not for the beginner hiker/biker however.”

Parking- Warning!

Phoenicians tend to be quite passionate about hiking and the parking lots tend to be busy…. all of the time!

Word of advice:

  • Arrive as early as possible to get a good spot and beat the crowd
  • Carpool
  • Take your smallest car (many of the parking lots are very compact)

One Zanes team member was backed into a dead-end while an eager hiker attempted to grab a parking spot.

Another Zanes team member witnessed a minor car accident as a vehicle tried to wiggle its way out of a small parking spot. At the same time, a larger car snaked in to grab the free spot! Yikes!

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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