Explore the Desert on these Great Phoenix Hikes

Jan 11 , 2024


Explore the Desert on these Great Phoenix Hikes

Phoenix is located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, meaning there are tons of great hiking trails just minutes from the city. Whether you're a beginner hiker looking for something easy, or a seasoned pro seeking a challenge, Phoenix has no shortage of options to explore the iconic saguaro cacti and mountain views that make this landscape so special.

For avid Hikers, Camelback Mountain is a must-do with two hiking trails to choose from. For those up for more of a climb, take the Echo Canyon Trail with some steep inclines and stairs to get your heart pumping. The Cholla Trail is a bit more gradual if you prefer. Just be aware that as one of the most popular hikes, parking fills up fast on weekends and holidays.

If you’re seeking more solitude, head just north of Phoenix to the Cave Creek Recreation Area. Here you’ll find the Go John and Skunk Creek Loop trails that deliver gorgeous panoramic views over 7 miles of moderate terrain through the desert wilderness.

For a treasures hunt-vibe, check out Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, the second highest point in the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the abundant petroglyphs left behind by indigenous tribes etched into the rocky terrain ages ago. There’s some uneven terrain and steep switchbacks so make sure to wear sturdy shoes.

Venture further north to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale for over 30,000 acres of pristine high Sonoran desert. One of my favorite hikes there is the Gateway Loop, which starts out innocently enough through cactus gardens then opens up to offer outstanding views of the McDowell Mountains.

No matter which trail you choose, make sure to bring plenty of water, hike before noon when intense midday desert heat kicks in, and keep your eyes peeled for critters like antelope squirrels and desert tortoises! Phoenix has so much natural beauty waiting to be explored just outside the city.

Let me know if you would like me to expand or modify anything in this blog post! I'm happy to revise it further.

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