Phoenix's Hiking Trails for Nature Enthusiasts

Phoenix's Hiking Trails for Nature Enthusiasts

  • The Owens Collective
  • 08/17/23

Known as one of the best states for hiking, Arizona is an excellent place to get in touch with nature. The warmth of the Grand Canyon state makes it an ideal getaway for escaping the cold of the winter and enjoying the blooming wildlife in the springtime. Let’s take a look at some of the best hiking trails in Phoenix.

What natural features can you find in Phoenix?

The desert contains a surprising amount of unique nature and wildlife to enjoy. Among the most famous wildlife in the area is the saguaro cactus – a true desert staple. The saguaro cactus is exclusive to the Sonoran Desert and is known for its spiky exterior and upward-facing arms. In the spring, white flowers bloom from the plant, along with red fruit in the summer. This precious plant is protected and is not legally allowed to be removed from areas in the parks, but there are plenty scattered throughout the desert to enjoy from a distance. Another common natural feature is the famous California fan palm tree, which can be found in many areas surrounding Phoenix.

Some of the animals native to this area include desert tortoises, lizards, rabbits, and rattlesnakes. Some critters are even friendly enough to greet hikers as they make navigate the many trails in the area.

Camelback Mountain

Phoenix, AZ 85018

One of the most popular hikes in the Phoenix area is Camelback Mountain. In fact, the mountain is considered one of the most popular attractions in all of Arizona. The mountain draws locals and tourists alike and is viewed as a rite of passage for those who reside in the state.

Camelback gets its name from its resemblance to a kneeling camel. There are two different hiking trails to consider, both of which take about two to three hours, so be sure to plan accordingly.

The Echo Canyon Trail starts off steep and rocky, and some parts even include handrails to assist you in the climb. While the stunning views of the valley give this hike a great payoff, it is a more strenuous trail, taking hikers up 1,200 feet in elevation. You may also need to go from boulder to boulder toward the top of the mountain as well. Once you reach the top of the summit, you are rewarded with a 360 view of the greater Phoenix area. This trail is considered difficult compared to other hiking trails in the area, so this is definitely one to consider if you are a seasoned hiker.

Cholla Trail is less popular than the Echo Canyon route but still sees some traffic. The first mile eases you into the hike, but beyond that, the trail requires some rock climbing over what is nicknamed “The Saddle.” This trail provides gorgeous views of the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas. As with the other trail, the Cholla Trail is considered to be a difficult hike as well.

Waterfall trail in White Tank Mountain Regional Park

20304 W. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell, AZ 85355

Arizona is home to many state and national parks. When the desert is in full bloom in the spring months, the waterfall trail in this regional park is an excellent hike to enjoy it all. Views from the trail include a variety of cactus plants, including the beautiful hedgehog cactus. Pink flowers blossom out of the hedgehog cactus and create a stunning contrast to the green plant.

The Waterfall Trail is just under two miles in length and is an easy hike, perfect for beginners who want to enjoy a peaceful hike that is not too strenuous. One important thing to note is that the actual waterfall is not always easy to see. Your best chance to witness it is after it rains. Since Arizona’s rainy season occurs in the summer months, that can also be a good time to explore the trail.

Piestewa Peak

Phoenix, AZ 85016

Located in Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Piestewa Peak is the second highest point you can reach in the area – second to Camelback Mountain. The peak’s payoff rewards hikers with a wide-ranging view of the Greater Phoenix area. The trail is just over one mile and may take up to an hour to reach, depending on the hiker’s pace.

Hiking Piestewa is one of the more difficult trails as it is an uphill climb with rocky paths. The payoff promises to be worth it as you get to see the best of the valley once you reach the top. This hike is also a great way to see the blooming wildflowers in the springtime. The desert flourishes with a stunning amount of colorful flowers, including poppies and marigolds. Arizona’s blooming season occurs from February to May.

Pinnacle Peak trail

Scottsdale, AZ 85262

For those looking to experience the best of Phoenix’s natural features, the Pinnacle Peak is a great option, as it features the state’s famous saguaro cactus. Covered with cactus and local wildlife, this hiking trail contains a clear path with a steady incline. In terms of difficulty, the Pinnacle Peak trail falls right in the middle of the scale at medium difficulty.

One important thing to note about this trail is while it lives up to its name with a tall and narrow peak at the top, hikers are unable to reach the very top. However, the views of the desert below provide a great payoff. Pinnacle Peak is a good option for those who want to enjoy every moment of the Sonoran Desert.

Lookout Mountain Summit trail

15800 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85022

Another great hike is the Lookout Mountain Summit. Just over a mile total, this trail is a great alternative for those looking for a quick hike and fewer crowds. Although the top is not nearly as high as some of the other summits in the area, the end of the hike promises stunning views of the city below. This is another hike that is considered moderate, a perfect happy medium for a short yet worthwhile hike.

Hole in the Rock trail

625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

A short hike with stunning views and unique features, the Hole in the Rock Trail contains a caved-in chamber within the mountain that makes for great views of the cities of Phoenix and Tempe. Other notable views include palm trees covering the area, and it is an excellent hike to enjoy the incomparable Arizona sunsets. The trail is less than half a mile and is popular, so expect some crowds. This is an easy hike and is also dog-friendly, so feel free to enjoy the trail with your canine companion.

Making Phoenix your new home

The possibilities are endless regarding outdoor recreation in the Phoenix area. With numerous hikes around with breathtaking views, it’s hard to run out of new trails to explore. If you love the outdoors, connecting with nature, and watching the vibrant sunsets from the mountains, it is worth considering moving to this area. The local real estate agents at The Owens Collective know the Phoenix area well and appreciate all the beauty the desert has to offer. For more insight into the best outdoor experiences in Phoenix and information about homes for sale in Phoenix, contact The Owens Collective today.

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