Hiking in North Phoenix

10 Must-Try Hikes in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is known for a lot of things, but one of the most popular is its hiking trails and outdoor beauty which is why we decided to share this blog about the 10 must-try hikes in Phoenix, Arizona.

Switch off your computer screens, grab your phone and your favorite playlist and go outside for fresh air and exercise. And the most fantastic way to do that is to hit the hiking trails. And just because it might be hotter in the summer, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy Phoenix. Here are some tips for beating the heat.

We have compiled this list with all level of hikes from easy to difficult. So, there is something for everyone, including the littles. So, don’t be shy, pick the one that is best for you and go hit the trail!

Besides giving your body a great workout, hiking lets you disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. If you’re ready to make cherished memories outdoors, this article will explain the absolute best picks for the must-try hiking trails. 

Why Should You Choose Phoenix for Your Next Outdoor Adventure?

While we don’t require you to travel far to see the fantastic sights in the Tonto National Forest, we suggest visiting it when you can. Phoenix is best known for having over 200 accessible and suitable hiking trails for all hiking skill levels. The Arizonian capital has more sunny days than any other city in the US, with 85% of its daylight hours filled with sunshine. Also, the city houses one of North America’s largest parks, covering over 16,000 acres. 

3 Best Beginner Must-Try Hikes in Phoenix

If you or your loved ones prefer a relaxed and gentle hike with little elevation, here are some leisurely climbs to check out. 

1. Judith Tunnel Accessible Trail at South Mountain Preserve

The Judith Tunnel Accessible Trail is a one-mile loop trail with a paved surface and an elevation gain of 105 feet in South Mountain Preserve. It’s suitable for strollers, wheelchairs, and pets, with disabled-accessible parking, plenty of shade, educational signage, and resting benches. Also, the trail offers a lookout spot for taking photos, ancient petroglyphs, and lush desert foliage, making visitors feel deep in the desert.

2. Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail at Desert Botanical Gardens

The Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail is a 2.1-mile loop trail at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, with an elevation gain of 78 feet. It’s an easy and accessible trail, perfect for families, but you can’t bring pets. The track focuses on the scientific aspect of trailblazing and offers educational signs about the region’s flora and fauna. It’s a brilliant opportunity to learn about the area while creating memories with loved ones.

3. Quartz Loop Trail at Cave Creek Regional Park

You can take your pets on the Quartz Loop Trail at Cave Creek Regional Park, a 3.6-mile loop with an elevation gain of 380 feet.

The Quartz Loop Trail in Cave Creek Regional Park is a scenic hiking trail with beautiful views of Arizona’s landscape and abandoned mining sites. It’s a family-friendly activity for bird-watching and identifying wildflowers, and the track is navigable. Also, it’s a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the state’s natural beauty.

4 Moderate Must-Try Hikes in the Valley of the Sun

It’s time to take your exercises to the next level! If you’re ready to get your blood pumping and seeking some difficulty without overwhelming exertion, here are our four best picks for your moderate hike in Phoenix! 

1. Piestewa Peak Nature Trail #304 at Phoenix Mountain Preserve

The Piestewa Peak Nature Trail #304 in Phoenix Mountain Preserve is a 1.3-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 269 feet. It allows pets and is excellent for bird and wildlife watching, with beautiful views, intriguing rocks, and blooming flowers greeting you. The trail is best for households with children aged eight and older and offers typical Arizona scenery and exercise. 

2. Cholla Trail at Camelback Mountain

The Cholla Trail at Camelback Mountain is a 3-mile out-and-back trail in Phoenix with an elevation gain of 1,264 ft. You can bring your pets here, and it’s a popular urban destination for daily workouts. The track has dense foliage but little wildlife due to heavy traffic.

3. Hidden Valley Trail via Mormon Trail at South Mountain Preserve

The Hidden Valley Trail is a 4-mile loop with an elevation gain of 945 ft, allowing pets. It offers a great view of the Superstition Mountains, wildflowers, and an exciting workout. This track features unique landscape features, including rock tunnels and the famous Fat Man’s Pass, making hiking enjoyable for you and your dog.

4. Tom’s Thumb at Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Tom’s Thumb is a pet-friendly 4.3-mile trail with an elevation gain of 3,793 ft in Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It starts flat but quickly becomes steep with switchbacks. It offers unique scenery with massive boulder formations. Also, visiting this track is perfect for a local photo spot and feeling like you’re on another planet. 

3 Challenging Must-Try Hikes near Phoenix, Arizona

While there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, some people like to get their adrenaline and blood pumping. If you also crave a challenge, here are the perfect options for your adventure! 

1. Piestewa Peak Summit Trail at Phoenix Mountain Preserve

The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail in Phoenix is a challenging 2.26-mile out-and-back trail with an elevation gain of 1,168 ft. It involves climbing steep stairs carved into rocks and holding onto metal rails. Despite being labeled as “extremely difficult,” it is a popular and crowded hike, and the breathtaking views from the top will be worth the sweat and tears shed.

2. Pyramid Trail at South Mountain Park and Preserve

The Pyramid Trail at South Mountain Park and Preserve is a pet-friendly, challenging 6.25-mile out-and-back trail with an elevation gain of 1,080 ft. Expect little shade and steep elevation but well-maintained trails and expansive park views. Also, it’s a more remote and less-congested trailhead.

3. Thompson Peak at McDowell Mountain Regional Park

The Thompson Peak hike at McDowell Mountain Regional Park is a pet-friendly, challenging 9.5-mile out-and-back trail with an elevation gain of 2,066 ft. This trail is best for experienced hikers who crave a challenge. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree view from the top.


Whether you’re a novice or an expert hiker, you deserve to enjoy some time with nature. We hope you enjoyed our blog about the must-try hikes in Phoenix. But we always love to hear from you too! So drop a comment below with your favorite hike. You can maximize your time outdoors by planning correctly and visiting our top picks for the best hiking trails in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Want to see a few homes in North Phoenix? Look below!

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8 thoughts on “10 Must-Try Hikes in Phoenix, Arizona”

  1. Love this! I need to bookmark it to reference…I have alone some but not all of these hikes since moving to AZ around 8 years ago. Thanks for this list!!

  2. Love this! I need to bookmark it to reference…I have done some but not all of these hikes since moving to AZ around 8 years ago. Thanks for this list!!

    1. Great question. We have so many! It kind of depends on home style but I would suggest looking at: Ahwatukee (a city) gives you mountain views, close to hiking, a little further away from stuff without being in the boonies. North Scottsdale if in the budget. Parts of North Phoenix near Moon Valley are outstanding. Also North Central Phoenix while in the middle of town is still close to trails and the food is delish. Let me know if you have other questions!

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