You’ve probably heard of Camelback Mountain, but there are plenty of other trails in Greater Phoenix that are perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. Here’s a list of a few of our staff members’ favorite hiking trails in the metro area.
Nature Trail at Piestewa Peak
Don’t mistake this hike for a nature stroll. Even though it’s located in the middle of the city, it can be a little rugged. This is a great hike for learning about the desert, thanks to the informational plaques placed along the trail.
The trailhead is located at the Apache picnic area at the end of the entrance road in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. This hike is about 1.5 miles.
Fat Man’s Pass
Located within the 17,000 acres of desert in South Mountain Park, Fat Man’s Pass is a great hike for families. This trail gets its name from the 20-foot-long passage between smooth granite boulders that are only a foot apart in some places. (Claustrophobes, don’t worry: You can go around the boulders if you want.)
This hike begins at the Buena Vista Lookout, which is approximately 6.5 miles from the park entrance. Follow road signs along Summit Road to the “Buena Vista/Hidden Valley Lookout”. The parking area for this trailhead has limited spaces and is usually full during peak seasons. The trail, which is initially paved, provides direct access to the National Trail. At that junction, head east on the National Trail. You’ll reach Fat Man’s Pass in about 1.8 miles.
Sunrise Trail at McDowell Mountains
When you reach the high point of this hike, you’ll likely forget that you’re on the edge of the sixth-largest city in the U.S. The Sunrise Trail is located McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a 21,400-acre desert jewel in the northeast Valley. This isn’t an easy hike, but it pays off in the end with sweeping views of the desert floor.
The Sunrise Access Area is located at 144th Street and Via Linda. There is an upper parking lot and a lower parking lot. The one-way trek to Sunrise Peak is a little less than 2 miles; from there you can turn around or hike another 3 miles or so to Lost Dog Overlook.
Coach Whip to Sunrise Pass
This dog-friendly hike is located within Thunderbird Conservation Park, a 1,185-acre park in the Hedgepeth Hills. From the top you’ll look down on homes and golf courses with views of mountains to the north. This is also a great trail to run.
This trail originates at the 67th Avenue parking lot at Patrick Lane and intersects with the Sunrise Trail on the west side of the park. The distance varies from 2 to 5 miles depending on your return route; there are several options for looping back to the trailhead.
Hieroglyphics Trail in the Superstitions
This is easy hike to ancient petroglyphs that resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics. Start at the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trailhead in the southwest corner of the Superstition Wilderness Area. You’ll soon reach a spring where clear water pools in the rocks. In the stone cliffs next to these pools are several petroglyphs carved by the Hohokam.
To reach the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trailhead, take U.S. 60 to Kings Ranch Road, between mile markers 202 and 203, and turn north. Proceed 2.8 miles, then turn east on Baseline Road. This round-trip hike is about 2 miles.