The Phoenix area is not just surrounded by mountains and Sonoran Desert, but the desert lives within the city as well. How you want to experience it is up to you.
Winter in Phoenix
Winter has officially arrived, and with it comes pleasantly warm days, perfect for exploring the unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Even during cooler winter months, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared before enjoying our scenic spaces:
It’s important to stay hydrated in the desert, regardless of season. A good rule of thumb is to bring at least one liter of water for each hour you'll be outside. Backpacks equipped with water bladders are ideal when hiking and biking.
Protect yourself from the sun and elements. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and proper shoes are all recommended.
- It's the time of year to dress in layers. The average daily high temperature in January is 68 degrees, but the mornings and nights regularly dip into the 40s.
Hiking and biking
Hiking and biking are the most popular ways to see saguaro cacti, red rocks and desert arroyos, no matter what part of town.
Hiking the Cholla trail on Camelback Mountain, the most iconic outline on the horizon, is not to be missed, particularly for the intermediate-to-advanced athlete.
Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is another signature vista, and numerous trails surround the acres of preserve.
- South Mountain Park and Preserve is the largest municipal park in the United States, and mountain bikers love the 50 miles of trails it provides.
Guided Phoenix tours
Hop in a hot air balloon to see the city and the saguaros from up high.
Check out the desert with a Jeep, Hummer or van tour, lasting a few hours or a few days.
- Horseback riding tours are available to take you through different mountain ranges across the area.
Our attractions allow you to check out the environment in a more laid-back approach.
The Desert Botanical Garden is a must-see for some of the most diverse plants in the world and their special exhibits change throughout the year.
- The Phoenix Zoo is also one of the top-rated in the country, and the native animals section includes snakes, javelina and coyotes.
~ Hiking Map ~
Download our Hiking Map (.pdf) to see all the trails in Greater Phoenix, including level of difficulty, trail distance, and accessibiltiy for bikes, pets, horses and ADA accessibiltiy.