Looking for great outdoor recreation just minutes from downtown and the airport? Take a hike around the red butte formations in Papago Park, including the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock; cast a line in seven acres of stocked fishing lagoons; enjoy a round at Papago Golf Course; or access the nearby Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
The trails in Papago Park are typically smooth with little elevation gain, providing easy access for walking, hiking, mountain biking or trail running. The park is split into east and west sides by Galvin Parkway.
You can take an acccessible, paved pathway as well as a series of trails and loops around a big butte and small butte. Try the 2.3-mile Double Butte Loop for a full experience of the park. The parking lot on Papago Park Drive has a drinking fountain, bike rack and picnic ramada, and no restrooms.
Hours: Gated roadways and parking areas are open from sunrise to sunset or 7 p.m., whichever comes first, but trails are open until 11 p.m.
Trails include an interpretive nature trail to learn about desert flora and fauna, as well as a short hike inside Hole-in-the-Rock, the park's most popular scenic viewpoint. Restrooms, drinking fountains, picnic ramadas are available on this side.
Hours: Gated roadways and parking areas are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m, but trails are open until 11 p.m.
This intriguing formation on the park's east side features a main chamber that looks out over nearby lagoons and the distant downtown skyline, and is great for views (especially at sunset). The trail to the chamber consists of steps that rise 200 feet in just a short 1/10 of a mile. The formation is thought to have been used by the ancient Hohokam civilization to track the position of the sun through a hole in the rock "ceiling."
Standing tall on a hill and visible throughout the park is a white pyramid that serves as a tomb for Arizona's first governor, George Hunt. Take a short walk to the top for views of the surrounding area, including Hole-in-the-Rock and inside the Phoenix Zoo.
Make it a day with a visit to top attractions located just within the park boundaries.
Climbers can take two strenuous trails to the peak and leave their chalky handprints on the granite “hump” of Camelback Mountain.
Hikers can traverse 50 miles of trail at South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
The Phoenix Mountains Preserve includes several parks and peaks offering outdoor recreation to hikers and bikers of all skill levels.
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