Greater Phoenix's collection of city preserves and county parks provide visitors an outlet for every grade of high-desert pursuit, from scenic strolls to challenging summits.
Hikers can traverse 50 miles of trail at South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
Walk (or bike) around the red buttes at Papago Park and into the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock formation.
Climbers can leave their chalky handprints on the granite “hump” of Camelback Mountain.
The Phoenix Mountains Preserve includes several parks and peaks offering outdoor recreation to hikers and bikers of all skill levels.
Mountain bikers can climb to the top of McDowell Mountain (then hurtle back down again).
This park in the upper Sonoran Desert offers 11 miles of trails with views onto the surrounding plains.
Hike, bike and ride on 20,000 acres of pristine desert, surrounded by mountains and a large wetland.
Hikers can enjoy the scenic 1.5-mile Roadrunner Trail that overlooks Lake Pleasant, a popular spot for water recreation.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park's trails get hikers and riders up-close to lower Sonoran Desert wildlife, plant life and scenic mountain views.
This conservation park offers ample wildflower sightings in spring, plus year-round hiking through towering saguaros and a riparian area.
Mountains are the scenic backdrop for Usery Mountain Regional Park's trails, including the popular Wind Cave Trail.
Trek through 25 miles of trails in this 30,000-acre desert park, named for the rugged White Tank Mountain range that cuts through it.
Hike or bike through 170 miles of trails on 30,000 acres of or pristine desert preserve including the iconic Tom's Thumb Trail.
The newest area in the Sonoran Preserve north of Phoenix features a range of trails through wild, undeveloped desert.
There’s a great trail for every skill level within a short drive from anywhere in Greater Phoenix. Check out our guide to the best hikes in Phoenix.
Arizona Outback Adventures shares their picks for the best places to trail run in Phoenix.
These six local Instagrammers showcase the beauty of the Sonoran Desert like few others. Their images will have you wanting to hike a trail, watch a sunset and more.
Petroglyphs—rock carvings left behind by ancient civilizations—can still be seen on these local trails.
With wildflowers blooming, the sun shining and comfortable daytime temps, spring is a perfect time to explore Phoenix's splendid desert trails. But even on pleasant spring days, outdoor enthusiasts need to be prepared for the unique climate and terrain of the Sonoran Desert.
Follow these tips for the best outdoor adventure experience:
Drink water and lots of it, even on cooler days. 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.
On warmer days, enjoy the outdoors early in the morning. Not only will it be about 20 degrees cooler in the early morning, but it's the best time to view desert critters that are most active at sunrise.
Protect yourself from the sun. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are all necessities. Make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen before you head outside, and reapply every few hours.
Wear proper footwear. Save the flip flops for lounging by the pool and wear shoes built to handle desert terrain when out on trails.
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