Central Phoenix Hiking: Trails & Tips

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Central Phoenix Hiking: Trails & Tips

There are many things to do in Central Phoenix, and hiking is a very popular activity among locals. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or you’ve never stepped foot on a trail in your life, the trails in Central Phoenix have something to offer for everyone.

The vast network of desert preserves, hiking trails and unique combination of desert and mountain make Central Phoenix the perfect place for an adventurous hike.

In fact, the city earned recognition from National Geographic for being among the nation’s 15 best hiking cities. Hiking is such a big part of daily life in Central Phoenix that you can find the trails busy with people early in the morning, during lunch or after work – it’s not just a weekend activity.

Apart from the various mountains and trails around Central Phoenix, there are also some amazing hiking trails in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Camelback Mountain

Central Phoenix Hiking Trails

Here is a list of some of the most popular hiking trails found near Central Phoenix:

North Mountain Park – located less than ten miles away from Downtown Phoenix, North Mountain is a popular place to visit. You can choose to do a short hike along the North Mountain National Trail and take in some glorious views. The hike begins near the Maricopa Ramada, quickly shoots uphill and will take you to an expansive lookout. If you’d like to continue you can follow the road all the way to the top of the 2,104-foot summit.

Camelback Mountain – located right in the heart of Central Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is probably the most popular recreational area for hiking. It’s named Camelback Mountain because it resembles a resting camel with a hump on its back. There are two main trails to choose from at Camelback Mountain and both are considered to be moderate and strenuous hikes depending on the level of experience. Echo Canyon is the most popular trail at about 1.3 miles each way. The Cholla Trail is a little longer at 1.6 miles, but it is not as steep as Echo Canyon. The two trails actually join at the top, but if you go up one side and go down the other be prepared to hike back again because you won’t be able to get back to your car otherwise.

South Mountain Park – Another adventurous hike awaits you at South Mountain. Take the Holbert Trail 1.5 miles up to the lookout point to enjoy some majestic panoramic views. The trail gradually works its way up the mountain, so it’s friendly for beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Shadow Mountain – The Shadow Mountain Big Loop trail can be moderate to difficult, so keep that in mind before committing to the two-mile trails. The trail loops so if you go left, stay left and you will come back to where you started. Shadow Mountain’s location offers beautiful panoramic views of the valley and the mountain.

Piestewa Peak (Phoenix Mountain Preserve) – The trek to the top of Piestewa Peak is hiked by about a half a million visitors to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve every year. The Peak sits at 2,608 feet and the steep trail can be difficult for novice hikers. However the effort is well worth the absolutely breathtaking 360-degree view from the top.

All hiking trails and the overall experience of hiking are a rewarding and enjoyable adventure.

However, it’s important to be smart and safe when setting out on a long and winding trail. Remember, most of these trails are located in natural settings so there may be dangerous critters and poisonous plants that make their home along popular trails.

Hiking Planning and Safety Tips

Here are some helpful tips that will allow you to safely enjoy your hikes:

1) Plan ahead – check the weather, arrive early, map out your trail and know where to find water or restrooms.

2) Don’t overexert yourself – know your limits and don’t push yourself harder than necessary.

3) Pack light – bring a backpack with essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen and a first aid kit. The lighter your load, the easier your hike.

4) Take breaks – the elevation and heat will make your hike harder than an ordinary walk so it’s important to rest up when you need to.

5) Bring your ID!

6) Stick to the trails – hiking trails are labeled in order to guide you so you don’t get lost. Don’t wander off!

7) Don’t intimidate or mess with plants, flowers or animals.

8) Be smart – don’t take risks and enjoy your hike!

Central Phoenix is home to many parks, mountains and wonderful hiking trails that offer an abundance of recreational activities for local residents.

Trails with beautiful views are located just minutes from Phoenix, so you don’t have to travel far to enjoy some nature.

There are some wonderful Central Phoenix homes located near these popular parks and hiking trails, and real estate expert Roberta Candelaria would be more than happy to assist you or answer any questions you may have.


Image credit to Where to Willie