In the Valley of the Sun: Best Hikes near Phoenix, AZ

Don't just admire the mountains from inside with the AC, get out there and explore the stunning desert surrounding Metro Phoenix.

Brendon Voelker

Images

LakePleasant_JohnMenard1.jpg
SouthMountain_Adam1.jpg
PeraltaCanyon_DavidTaylor1.jpg
PeraltaCanyon_DavidTaylor2.jpg
PeraltaCanyon_thegreattadow1.jpg
PeraltaCanyon_ChrisJ1.jpg
20161226_153722.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161226_153724.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161226_153716.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20160204_135330.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

EchoCanyon_pd40_1.jpg
EchoCanyon_pd40_2.jpg
EchoCanyon_ScotRumery2.jpg
EchoCanyon_ScotRumery1.jpg
20161224_110255.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161224_110303.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161224_113023.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161224_121753.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

SiphonDraw_ksblack99.jpg
Phoenix_AlanLevine1.jpg
Phoenix_ScottTaylor1.jpg
IMG_8334hdr.jpg
South Mountain

by Greg Heil

Creative Commons: Attribution
IMG_7483.jpg

by Greg Heil

IMG_7495.jpeg

by Greg Heil

20181223_074921.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20181217_072646.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161220_164310.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161220_164333.jpg
Sunset

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20181217_072646.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20161220_164310.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20181223_074921.jpg
Pima Canyon, as seen from the Marcos De Niza Trail

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

Phoenix_Mountains_Preserve_01.jpg
A view of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

by A view of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona

Creative Commons: Attribution
Phoenix_Mountains_Preserve_02.jpg
20160203_143124.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20160203_143105.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

20160203_143141.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

22982224722_375cd880d0_o.jpg
22603452159_db0f871b09_o.jpg

by Kimon Berlin

Licence Free

22603462369_4a113f3594_o.jpg
White_Tank_Mountains_Regional_Park_-_Library_02_-_60128-1.jpg
20161224_110255.jpg
20161224_121753.jpg

by Brendon Voelker

Licence Free

IMG_3096.JPG

by Greg Heil

IMG_3095.JPG

by Greg Heil

Description

Home to over 4.5 million people, the Phoenix metropolitan area boasts an incredible amount of trail that is often underestimated. Countless preserves and parks blanket the valley including the massive 16,000-acre South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States. This guidebook showcases some of our favorite hikes around the valley and is sure to have something for everyone.

One of the most popular trailheads on South Mountain lies less than 15 minutes from the airport and Tempe. The Marcos de Niza Trail showcases incredible views to the south and overlooks Ahwatukee from high atop a narrow ridge. By way of National Trail, you can pay a visit to Fat Man’s Pass, “a tight squeeze between rocks, found in a jumble of large boulders with plenty of other nooks and crannies to explore”, according to adventurer Jesse Weber. Should you be short on time, or intimidated by either of those hikes, the Pima East and West Loops never venture too far from the trailhead.

Phoenix Mountains Preserve, nicknamed “PMP” by locals, is located just north of town. Prior to its status as a protected preserve, the area was home to several mines whose remnants can still be found. Rumors of mine entrances have circled through the community, but few people claim to know where they are at. In addition to the Pearl Charles and Freedom Trails, the summit trail to Piestewa Peak provides an intense climb to some of the best views in town. It’s perfect for the entire family and offers commanding views from its perch. Not far away, Camelback Mountain is possibly the most recognized hike in town. Though popular, it’s anything but easy.

West in the valley and within an hour of downtown, you can find White Tank Regional Park. The Mesquite/Willow Canyon loop is an incredible hike showcasing unique and rugged canyons tucked deep in the mountains. Of all the hikes on the list, this is a local favorite due to its remoteness. For an easier hike, explore the Black Rock Loop and Waterfall Trail – a historic hike perfect for the entire family.

Approaching the 1 hour mark from downtown, a few more classic hikes present themselves. Northwest of town, the Pipeline Canyon Trail to Yavapai Point is an excellent day trip adventurer Jesse Weber describes as “a classically vibrant Sonoran Desert landscape, but with a major splash of additional color in the blue reservoir”. As with most trails in the region, your hike will be accompanied by a wide array of cacti, including massive, weathered saguaro and teddy bear cholla.

Just east of town, the Superstitions offer even more options for hikers. Siphon Draw to The Flatiron is a steep approach to one of the best views in the range. It’s exposure and lack of water make it one of the most demanding adventures in the range and its best visited in the winter months. A couple ridges over, you can hike the Peralta Canyon Trail to a vista of Weavers Needle. Noted as the most recognizable summits in peaks in the range, this hike offers incredible scenery and a surprisingly lush ecosystem.

Adventures

Piestewa Peak

A classic hike with 360-degree views atop Piestewa Peak.

Wind Cave

The popular climb to Wind Cave isn't long, but it's rugged and steep!