Arizona and hiking going hand in hand. Metro Phoenix has a population over 4.5 million and more than 42 million tourists a year – and the city has over 200 miles of hiking trails! I have compiled a list of my favorite hiking trails. I’ve included everything from easy to difficult… now all you have to do is decide where to start!
Lost Dog Wash
Lost Dog Wash is a trail I frequent quite often. Located in the McDowell Mountains, the reserve has multiple trails to chose from. I usually take the Ringtail Trail (2.5 miles) or the Taliesin Overlook (4 miles). Either of these can be done relatively quickly. Of course, as always, bring plenty of water whenever you go hiking! Difficulty Level – Easy
Pinnacle Peak is also situated in the McDowell Mountain Range but on the northern end. It’s the perfect out-and-back hiking trail with an elevation of 2,889 feet and only 1.75 miles each way. Start your morning hiking Pinnacle and enjoy the views from the top. Difficulty Level – Easy to Moderate
Piestewa Peak’s Dreamy Draw trail is one of my favorite hiking trails. It’s challenging but doable and has fantastic views of downtown Phoenix. The trail is about 1.5 miles to the top with an elevation gain of 1,580 feet. All in all, it takes about 2 hours to hike Piestewa Peak round trip. Note: Parking can be really difficult to find, so be prepared to wait! Difficulty Level – Moderate
Camelback Mountain – Echo Canyon Trail
Oh, Camelback. I love you, and I hate you. Camelback’s Echo Canyon trail is probably Phoenix’s most notorious hiking trail. She’s a beast. A big, beautiful beast. The 2.5-mile hike to the top is not for the inexperienced hiker. While there is a trail path you follow for a portion of the hike, there is also a lot of climbing. They have a couple portions where there is a rail to help guide you up over the rocks. The views from the top are incredible, and the sense of accomplishment upon completion makes this intense hike a favorite among locals and visitors alike! If you go during the holidays, you’ll be greeted by Santa Claus at the top! Difficulty Level – Difficult
Remember: No matter your experience or comfort level, the time of year or the weather, always keep your safety in mind! The heat is REAL here and you can easily find yourself in 100+ degree weather. Go hiking early in the morning, let someone know where you’re headed and what time you expect to be back. Stay on the designated trail, and ALWAYS bring plenty of water! Keep an eye out for the natives (and I don’t mean people). The desert is full of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and other creepy crawlers! I also like to have gloves (specifically for Camelback) and I keep my phone and a Lara bar on me, too! Make sure you check out the official sites and read their tips and guidelines before heading out. And most of all, have fun!
What are you favorite hiking trails in the Valley?