Details: 602-506-2930, ext. Details: 480-998-7971, www.mcdowellsonoran.org. "I've hiked all over the world and this short but very challenging hike (2.4 mi. Circumnavigating one of the larger sandstone buttes in the park, this trail begins at the Eliot Ramada and continues through the dry, red desert of Papago, passing the amphitheater on McDowell and gently curving back to the beginning. Catch your breath while you soak up the wide-ranging vistas. Brown’s Mountain, a slanted hump rising from the desert floor, and the smooth precision of neighboring Cone Mountain add vertical notes to the skyline. 306 is Shaw Butte, and that one is rated difficult, but part of it is relatively easy. FAMILY HIKING:Phoenix barrier-free and stroller-friendly trails open the outdoors to all. To work yourself back into hiking shape, start with some easy trails. GET OUT:McDowell Mountain park is pretty busy. Subscribe to azcentral.com today. Get the latest updates in news, food, music and culture, and receive special offers direct to your inbox. The gravel path of the Kiwanis Trail gains almost 500 feet in elevation, so perhaps it should get a moderate rating. This trail lets you get away from the crowd, Hike of the week: Kiwanis Trail, South Mountain, www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Watch for wildlife and enjoy plenty of mild winter sunshine. Mixing switchbacks and rolling hills, the trail is a wonderful way to explore the lush desert teeming with wildlife and plant life any time of year. All rights reserved. Turn right onto the Metate Trail as it weaves through a lovely mesquite bosque. It resembles a Flintstone-era gazebo but was actually built by the CCC. Just don’t let the rating undersell their attractions. Hiking is definitely a favorite Arizona activity but not everyone wants—or is able—to participate in the impressively long and arduous trails. Represented by its massive sandstone buttes, Papago Park features four easy trails and unmatched views of the Tempe area. The most well known of them all is Piestewa Peak; a 2.3 mile out and back trail that leaves you feeling absolutely accomplished every time. The Hiking Trails in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park & Preserve It is the largest municipal park in the United States. Keep your eyes peeled for petroglyphs while hiking around Lookout Mountain. North Mountain National Trail - Moderate. Some of the best advanced hiking trails in Phoenix are Squaw Peak Summit Trail (also known as Piestewa Peak) and the two hikes up Camelback Mountain. On the shores of Lake Pleasant, the 2-mile long Wild Burro Trail rambles across low hills and skirts the edge of intimate coves. Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Savor the big scenic views and admire the saguaros as tall as office buildings. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Conveniently located near Shea Boulevard and 124th Street, Lost Dog is a popular trail, and on weekend mornings you'll encounter people of all ages (some with dogs), mountain bikers, and even the occasional horseback rider. It provides a chance to move slowly and savor the little flourishes of the landscape — the way the sun splinters on the spines of teddy bear cholla, the soft landing of a butterfly on a yucca stalk and the bobbing gait of Gambel’s quail scurrying for cover. Best Easy Day Hikes Phoenix features concise descriptions and easy-to-follow maps of thirty-three easily manageable hikes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Valley of the Sun—from Piestewa Peak, which dominates Phoenix's northern skyline, to McDowell Mountain, Pinnacle Peak, and Lost Dutchman State Park. Because of the close proximity to the Phoenix Metropolitan area, various Arizona hiking groups use the trails at Lost Dutchman for weekly hikes and meetings. A gentle hillside loop is one of the best. A couple of short trails branch off from this leg of Spur Cross. Please remember they are wild, and keep a safe distance. Length: 2 miles round trip; 2.6 miles to Telegraph Pass lookout. Start on the Siphon Draw Trail through the airy open desert until you hike up inside a basin of smooth, polished rock. Admission: $3 per person, free for age 14 and younger. Soon, Metate Trail reconnects with Spur Cross and another right turn will bring you back to the trailhead for a 2.1-mile loop. The Phoenix Mountain Preserve is full of easy, moderate and difficult hiking trails – you can find yourself spending all day in this natural preserve. Difficulty Level: Easy. So even if you only have a couple of says to explore, hitting the outdoors is one of the best things to do in Phoenix! Scenic Trail: A loop in the McDowell Mountains that lives up to its name, with mountain vistas among proud saguaros over vivid desert. Terms, Since both these trails are named for spring flowering plants, it’s no surprise that this is a good area for bloom chasers. :Hike of the week: Kiwanis Trail, South Mountain. The proximity to hiking trails is one of the best things about living in the Valley, and Lookout Mountain is just one example. A short (0.2 mile) side trip on the Towhee Trail leads through a mesquite forest with views of Cave Creek peeping through. Staff, Easy. A little farther on you’ll find an ancient grinding stone, known as a metate. Where: Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, 30301 N. Alma School Road, Scottsdale. Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA Located at Papago Park, in the heart of the city, this 2.3-mile trail lets you get up close and personal to the red sandstone buttes that can be seen for miles. Being almost out of town, it features cleaner air and a nicer drive to get to than some of the aforementioned trails. One of the most beautiful, easy hikes in Phoenix is the Lost Dog Wash Trail, which brings hikers around a loop full of wildflowers, cacti, and mountain views in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. 1. At the end of the trail, a small cave is an added bonus. Yet it’s just 1 mile long, a short outing with dramatic city views for when you’re ready to enhance your workout a bit. up and back) is a jewel." Once you reach the top of the short peak, you get a lovely view of the lake and the surrounding desert. With proper shoes, a good amount of water, and comfortable clothes, these five hikes (listed from easiest to most challenging) are feasible for any beginner looking to explore the desert trails in metro Phoenix. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Look inside for: Half-hour strolls to full-day adventures Support local journalism. Jane Rau is a longtime local community activist and educator. With more than 35 Phoenix trails covering 320 miles, you’re bound to find a perfect trail like the Paradise Park Trail or New River Trail. There are several trails that fork off from Lost Dog; when you get a little more sure of yourself, try Sunrise or one of the other paths in the area. Phoenix is home to more than 41,000 acres of desert parks and mountain preserves, and more than 200 miles of trails. Length: 2.1-mile loop; 3.1 miles if Mariposa Hill and Fairy Duster trails are added. The easiest place to begin this hike is at the Boynton Canyon Road Trailhead, but other options are available too if parking is filled up during busy times. The new year is upon us, which means that metro Phoenix hiking trails are packed not only with seasoned trekkers, but resolutioners aiming to hike more in 2021. SONORAN DESERT:Hiking at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. Explore the best trails in Phoenix, Arizona on TrailLink. Yet the trail is less about big vistas and more about small details. Maybe this will help. North Mountain is one of the most dog-friendly hikes we’ve done. This big park north of Fountain Hills offers more than 50 miles of trails. However, this 3.3-mile trail is just west of Lake Pleasant, making it a good hike to round out your boating experience. That’s all worth getting out and walking around for a while. The hike will take you about 30 minutes one-way or an hour round-trip. Trailhead is on Desert Tortoise Road. The desert, so cruel for so long, welcomes us again with open arms. Here are 15 hikes not to miss near Phoenix. This trail lets you get away from the crowd. Contact Us, Papago Park’s hiking trails are known to be relatively easy and smooth. It isn’t an easy task, but it’s a popular one. SUBSCRIBE NOW $3 for 3 months. Find the reporter at rogernaylor.com. See the iconic rock formations while hiking in Papago Park. Circulation, It’s the season when we all want to be outdoors. Skip Rimsza Paseo Trails In The Sonoran Desert Preserve The Sonoran Desert Preserve, one of the newest dedicated natural spaces in North Phoenix, offers miles of trails for hikers of all levels in a pristine desert environment. At the very end of the trail, you’ll be able to take a picture with the “End of Pinnacle Peak Trail” sign. From the trailhead, you can see the trail snaking up the wall of rock in front of you. If you want more of a workout, cross the road to the National Trail, where a short, steep climb leads to the Telegraph Pass lookout perched atop a ridge. The slightly steep stretches at the end of the trail reward your effort with expansive views of downtown Phoenix. So again, if you’re looking for easy hikes in Phoenix, we recommend stopping at the 1.5 mile marker. The trail is fairly flat and easy, but provides stunning vistas of the desert area, especially at sunrise or sunset. Here's everything you can do there. If you’re looking for a trail that is easy enough for your whole family to enjoy, you will definitely want to check out these trails found throughout Arizona. All rights reserved. It’s the water that captures your gaze, the sparkling blue dotted with ducks and kayaks and sailboats, surrounded by desert. Please contact the park if your hiking group would like a great spot to meet up. Details: 602-262-7393, www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain. Even trails regarded as easy reward alert hikers in countless ways. Short enough to be great for kids, but still offers rewarding views of metro Start out bearing left on the Spur Cross Trail, a segment of the mighty Maricopa Trail. Almost everyone you see heading up the trail has a … If the blast-furnace heat of summer kept you off the trails for months, you’ll want to ease into things. The Wind Cave trail, located in the southeastern edge of the Phoenix area, beyond the city of Mesa, provides fantastic views out over the surrounding countryside. Take in the views on this desert walk, as the McDowell Mountain range will provide a lovely backdrop to this meandering desert trail. Phoenix is the perfect launching pad for a near infinite number of hikes and outdoor adventures, many of which are within just an hour’s drive of the city center. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. Getting to the Summit of Piestewa at Phoenix Mountain Preserve is the second busiest hiking spot in the city. My favorite easy trail is a combination of Trails 100 and 306. LIKE TO HIKE? Rejoining the Pemberton Trail guides you back to your starting point. Everyone should take a walk on the Jane Rau Trail as a tribute to one of the people who spearheaded the effort to establish the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. With hikes varying from half-hour strolls to full-day adventures, Best Easy Day Hikes Phoenix is for everyone, including families. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. This out-and-back trail is one of the longer ones on the list (2.2 miles each way), but the terrain has very little up-and-down, making it a good choice for novice hikers. 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