Arizona is known for a lot of things. From the Grand Canyon to Route 66, the Copper State is a true postcard waiting to happen. It’s also one of the very best states for hiking. From Tucson to Flagstaff, Bisbee to Yuma, you will find hiking opportunities wherever you are in the state.
If you happen to find yourself in metro Phoenix you also have access to several exceptional hiking destinations. Just because you’re in one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country doesn’t mean you can’t easily escape into nature.
Whether you’re looking for the easiest hike in Phoenix, or you’re simply curious about the available Phoenix hiking trails for an upcoming trip, here are some of the best hikes you can take around the Valley.
Maybe you’re a beginner and are looking for an easy hiking trail to get yourself started on. The Hole in the Rock Trail at Papago Park is an easy hike that, in reality, will take you less than 15 minutes to complete. It’s short and brisk, but if you have kids, or if you haven’t gone hiking in a while and want to acclimate yourself to the desert, this is a fantastic starting point.
The Phoenix Mountain Preserve is made up of a series of hikes and trails, so you can decide which to go on. There is a trail that’s optimal for all skill levels, and most will result in an excellent view of the Valley. The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail (#300) is one of the absolute best trails not only in the Preserve, but in the entire metro area. It’s also not an easy hike. Only partake in this hike if you are an experienced trekker.
As is the case with every other trail and hike, make sure you have plenty of water when setting out. A good rule of thumb is once you reach the halfway point with your water, it’s time to turn around. This is especially the case during the warmer months. If you are visiting (or hiking) during the summer months, set out at dawn to avoid the heat.
Thankfully, even though this hike is on the harder side, it is a short one. It’s about two miles in total length and you can complete it in about two hours.
This is another hike that is accessed via the South Mountain Preserve. Because there are so many great hikes scattered throughout the Mountain Preserve you wouldn’t be the first person to end up on the wrong trail (which isn’t terrible, you’ll just experience a different hike).
However, because this hike culminates in an actual lookout, to make sure you end up on this trail you’ll want to go left beyond the Visitor Center upon entering the preserve and keep following the road until it hits the Holbert Trail.
Once on the Holbert Trail, the entire walk is four miles. The incline is steady but smooth, so it is a good workout, but it isn’t difficult. It will take longer than two hours to complete, so make sure you have the time set aside for the hike.
The Dobbins Lookout is a series of ruins at the top of the mountain, which should give you a nice photo opportunity (it’s always nice when the hike reaches a final point of interest, as if it is giving you some kind of a reward for making it to the top). You will also have a fantastic view of the Valley when you make it to the lookout, so don’t use all your phone battery listening to music on the way up. You’ll want to snap a few pictures.
If you are interested, there is another route to reach Dobbins Lookout. You can take East Mineral Road to make it to the final destination as well. The hike’s elevation is slightly higher, although the route itself is about a half mile shorter, so you will have your choice. Ultimately though, the hike will take about the same length of time.
You can access the Camelback Mountain hike via Echo Canyon Recreation Area. This is one of the more popular hikes in Phoenix, and, when asking around, locals will either call it simply Camelback, or those more experienced hikers may even refer to it as the Cholla Trail (which is the specific trail you will be on while on Camelback Mountain).
You might even ask, “what mountains can you hike?” and, truthfully, there are trails on just about every mountain around Phoenix, but this is one of the best options. It is a hard hike, but a fun one. Just know that it is a point to point hike, so it will not end where you started (unless you decide to turn around).
As is the case with many other hikes, this is a no dog hiking path. This is for the safety of the dog as areas are steep, so even if you like to take your dog on hikes, this is one instance where they will be better off back at home.
This is a hike that is located in the South Mountain Preserve area. This is a moderate hike, so if you are not yet ready to test yourself on one of the harder, steeper trails, this is a fine option to go with. it is rather popular with local joggers, and it is also dog-friendly (as long as they are on a leash). This is also a hike you can do with children. It isn’t terribly difficult and there isn’t much of an incline, but you do have a nice view throughout the hike.
The entire hike is about 2.3 miles and, depending on your pace, you will be able to complete it in under 90 minutes.
It is extremely important to fuel up before going out on any kind of hike. You need your protein, and you need your carbs. Carbohydrates give you a sustainable fuel source that will help you get through any kind of hike, no matter its difficulty.
At eegee’s, you can order your favorite sub or grinder prior to the hike, which will help energize you before starting. Then, when it’s all said and done, why not stop by your neighborhood eegee’s for a refreshingly tasty (and frozen) eegee? It’s a nice reward for a job well done. Wherever you decide to go for your next hike, eegee’s is here for you.