The Arizona climate lends itself to plentiful outdoor play and sport year-round. The entire state is peppered with idyllic hiking trails of all varieties, levels, and terrain, but Valley residents don’t need to travel far to find some of the best. Breathe in fresh air, take in some pretty incredible views, avail yourself of the cooler weather, and get a little exercise in as well. Even better, you can bring some friends along for the fun.
This beautiful 2,706-foot icon, situated between Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley, is a site to behold from the ground, but the views from the top are even better. Opt for the moderate Cholla Trail or challenge yourself a bit more with Summit Trail (Echo Canyon). If you’re looking to take it a bit easier, enjoy a more leisurely stroll around Bobby’s Rock or Ramada Loop Trails.
Phoenix’s North Mountain, part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, stands at 2,104 feet, with Shaw Butte topping out at 2,149 feet. The mountain offers a variety of trails that meet the wants of every hiker, from summit climbs to relatively flat meandering trails. If pressed for time, try something like the short loop trail at Penny Howe Barrier-Free Nature Trail. To get the heart pumping a little more, opt for the Shaw Butte Trail.
Formerly known as Squaw Peak, this hiking favorite rises 2,610 feet above the Valley, with over a half million people hiking its Summit Trail each year. Its name was changed to honor Lori Piestewa, a local who died serving this nation in Iraq back in 2003. Stick around the base for some easy and moderate trails or hike a little higher for more of a challenge.
South Mountain and the Superstition Mountains are also great options, though farther away. Whatever you choose, please follow park regulations, let someone know where you’ll be if you go the trail alone, and bring plenty of water—don’t let the cooler weather fool you!