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Best Hiking in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona, is a hiker’s paradise with its stunning desert landscapes, diverse trails, and year-round sunshine. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting, Phoenix offers something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the best hiking trails in Phoenix, provide tips for a safe and enjoyable hike, and highlight the unique flora and fauna you might encounter.

Why Phoenix is Perfect for Hiking

Phoenix’s climate is ideal for hiking, especially in the cooler months. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, you can almost always count on good weather. The city’s diverse landscapes, ranging from desert valleys to mountainous terrains, offer a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels.

Top Hiking Trails in Phoenix

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is one of the most iconic hiking destinations in Phoenix. With its challenging trails and breathtaking views, it’s a must-visit for any hiker.

Echo Canyon Trail

Echo Canyon Trail is a steep and strenuous hike, but the panoramic views of Phoenix at the summit are worth the effort. The trail is 2.4 miles round trip and requires some rock scrambling.

Cholla Trail

Cholla Trail is slightly longer and less steep than Echo Canyon, making it a great alternative. This 3-mile round-trip trail offers beautiful vistas and a rewarding climb.

Piestewa Peak

Formerly known as Squaw Peak, Piestewa Peak is another popular hiking spot in Phoenix.

Summit Trail

The Summit Trail is a challenging 2.2-mile round-trip hike that provides stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. The trail is steep, with many switchbacks, but the view from the top is unbeatable.

South Mountain Park and Preserve

South Mountain Park and Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, offering numerous trails for all levels.

Hidden Valley Trail

The Hidden Valley Trail is a moderate 3.6-mile loop that features beautiful rock formations and a natural tunnel. It’s a perfect trail for those looking for a bit of adventure.

Mormon Trail

The Mormon Trail is a moderate 4-mile round-trip hike with spectacular views of the city and the surrounding desert. The trail leads to the famous “Fat Man’s Pass,” a narrow rock passage that adds a fun challenge to the hike.

Papago Park

Papago Park is known for its unique sandstone formations and easy hiking trails.

Hole-in-the-Rock Trail

Hole-in-the-Rock Trail is a short, easy hike suitable for all ages. The trail leads to a large, eroded hole in a sandstone butte, offering panoramic views of Phoenix.

Double Butte Loop Trail

Double Butte Loop Trail is a moderate 2.3-mile loop that takes you around the park’s prominent sandstone buttes. It’s a great trail for those looking to explore Papago Park’s geological features.

North Mountain and Shaw Butte

North Mountain and Shaw Butte offer a variety of trails with varying difficulty levels.

North Mountain National Trail

The North Mountain National Trail is a moderate 1.6-mile hike that provides excellent views of the city and the surrounding desert landscape.

Shaw Butte Trail

Shaw Butte Trail is a challenging 4.5-mile loop that offers a mix of steep climbs and flat stretches. The trail features remnants of an old hotel and provides fantastic views from the summit.

Hiking Tips for Phoenix

Best Time to Hike

The best time to hike in Phoenix is during the cooler months, from October to April. Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal to avoid the midday heat.

Essential Gear

  • Water: Always carry plenty of water, especially in the desert heat.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the strong sun.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Essential for sun protection.
  • Proper Footwear: Sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction.
  • Map and Compass: Always have a way to navigate the trails.

Safety Precautions

  • Stay on Marked Trails: To avoid getting lost or encountering dangerous wildlife.
  • Tell Someone Your Plans: Let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Know Your Limits: Choose trails that match your fitness level and experience.

Wildlife and Flora

  • Phoenix’s trails are home to a variety of wildlife and plants. You might encounter:
  • Desert Animals: Jackrabbits, coyotes, and lizards.
  • Birds: Hawks, quails, and roadrunners.
  • Plants: Saguaro cacti, prickly pears, and creosote bushes.
  • Always respect the wildlife and maintain a safe distance.

Benefits of Hiking in Phoenix

Physical Health Benefits

Hiking is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle strength, and enhance flexibility.

Mental Health Benefits

The natural beauty and tranquility of Phoenix’s trails provide a perfect setting for stress relief and mental rejuvenation.

Family-Friendly Hiking Trails

Best Trails for Kids

  • Hole-in-the-Rock Trail: Easy and fun for children.
  • Double Butte Loop Trail: Moderate, with interesting rock formations.

Safety Tips for Families

  • Keep Children Close: Ensure they stay on the trail.
  • Pack Snacks: Keep energy levels up with healthy snacks.
  • Teach Trail Etiquette: Educate children on respecting nature and other hikers.

Advanced Hiking Trails

  • Challenging Trails for Experienced Hikers
  • Echo Canyon Trail: Known for its steep and rugged terrain.
  • Shaw Butte Trail: Offers a mix of challenging climbs and descents.
  • Preparation Tips for Advanced Hikes
  • Train Regularly: Build endurance and strength.
  • Carry Extra Supplies: Bring additional water, snacks, and a first-aid kit.
  • Research the Trail: Know the trail’s difficulty and length before you go.

Local Hiking Communities and Events

Hiking Groups and Clubs

Join local hiking groups to meet fellow enthusiasts and discover new trails. Popular groups include the Arizona Hiking Club and Phoenix Outdoor Adventures.

Local Events and Meetups

Phoenix hosts various hiking events and meetups throughout the year. These are great opportunities to explore new trails and connect with other hikers.


Phoenix offers an incredible variety of hiking trails that cater to all levels of experience. From the challenging climbs of Camelback Mountain to the family-friendly paths of Papago Park, there’s something for everyone. So grab your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and hit the trails to discover the best hiking Phoenix has to offer.


  1. Best time of year to hike in Phoenix?

The best time to hike in Phoenix is from October to April when the temperatures are cooler.

  • Are dogs allowed on hiking trails in Phoenix?

Yes, many trails in Phoenix are dog-friendly, but always check trail regulations and bring plenty of water for your pet.

  • What should I pack for a hike in Phoenix?

Pack water, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, proper footwear, a map, and snacks.

  • Are there guided hiking tours available?

Yes, several companies offer guided hiking tours in Phoenix. These tours can provide valuable insights into the area’s history and natural features.

  • How do I stay safe while hiking in Phoenix?

Stay on

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