Phoenix has a surprising amount of natural beauty around it, so I’ve rounded up my picks for the best and most beautiful spots to go hiking in Phoenix.
The landscapes and terrain in Phoenix are seriously unreal, and taking a hike through them is perfect to clear your head and reconnect with nature.
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Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a strenuous trek, there’s plenty of hiking in Phoenix for all experience levels.
Before jumping into my Phoenix hiking recommendations, I want to share my must-have hiking gear so you can stay safe and prepared on all your adventures.
Shop my hiking essentials below:
UV-Blocking Tops and Bottoms
That Arizona sun is no joke, and I’ve been burnt one too many times to risk heading out on a hike in Phoenix without UV-blocking tops and bottoms. There are tons of top and bottom options like this Comii Mia Womens Long Sleeve with UPF 50+ and these UV-protecting Columbia Women’s Saturday Trail Stretch Pants.
A must for hiking in Phoenix is a small backpack to fit essentials like water, snacks, a grass fed beef stick, and sunscreen. I like hydration packs because they’re super lightweight and comfortable, so I recommend something like this Ozark Trail Adult 2 Liter Hydration Backpack which comes with a water bladder for hands-free drinking.
There’s truly nothing worse than getting a sunburn on your face, so make sure to bring a hat to protect your skin from harmful sun damage. This Solaris Sun Hat even features a ponytail hole which is a necessity when hiking in Phoenix!
I recommend picking up a good pair of hiking boots before traveling to Phoenix because a lot of hikes in the area are rocky and easy to twist your ankle on.
Most hiking boots are also waterproof which is a bonus—the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot is a great option with lots of positive reviews.
Now that you’ve got all your gear taken care of, let’s jump into this hiking in Phoenix guide!
Where to Find the Best Hiking in Phoenix
The first area I recommend visiting for some of the best hiking in Phoenix is Papago Park. This park has a great variety of easy-to-moderate trails that everyone can enjoy.
Hole in the Rock Trail — 0.5 miles, ~ 10-15 minutes
Hole in the Rock Trail is more of a walk vs a hike since it’s only a half-mile roundtrip, but it’s a must IMO.
Named after the spectacular sandstone butte with a naturally sculpted hole that hikers can walk through at the end of their journey, this trail is said to be one of Phoenix’s most picturesque hikes.
You’ll be able to catch some stunning views of downtown Phoenix on Hole in the Rock Trail. This trail is also dog-friendly, making it perfect for the whole fam.
Double Butte Loop Trail — 2.4 miles, ~ 1 hour
This intermediate hike is great for those who want to stay out in nature a little longer. The Double Butte Loop Trail offers beautiful views of Papago Park’s unique rock formations and the chance to spot wildlife like coyotes, quail, and roadrunners.
This hike is perfect for anyone regardless of ability since you only gain 50 feet of elevation across the entire trail.
With its even terrain and partially paved surface, Double Butte Loop Trail is also a top Phoenix mountain-biking spot—plus, it’s a breeze for kids and pups.
It’s highly recommended that you keep a map on hand while hiking this trail as the path is not always clearly marked.
To continue your adventures hiking in the Phoenix area, head to Lost Dutchman State Park to find some of Arizona’s most rewarding trails.
Siphon Draw Trail to Flatiron Summit — 6.2 miles, ~ 5 hours
The Siphon Draw Trail to Flatiron Summit is quite an adventure! You’ll be hiking a steady climb via Siphon Draw Trail as you head to the summit of Flatiron.
Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Weavers Needle and the Superstition Mountains. If you’re feeling up to it, you can make this a 10-mile loop by continuing on the Dutchman Trail back to your starting point.
This trail is especially beautiful after the monsoon season—typically July to September—when you can find wildflowers blooming along the path.
If you plan to tackle this trail, make sure to come prepared with plenty of snacks, water, and sunscreen.
South Mountain Park is one of the best spots for hiking in Phoenix since it offers a variety of easy-to-challenging trails.
Holbert Trail — 4.7 miles roundtrip ~ 2-3 hours
Holbert Trail is a popular hike in South Mountain Park for amazing views of the Arizona desert.
This moderate hike leads you through a stunning desert landscape on your way up to National Trail’s highest summit where expansive views await.
Along the trail you’ll also spot remarkable rock formations and, if you time it just right, you can catch a stunning sunrise or sunset.
You could easily spend days hiking around McDowell Sonoran Preserve and never step foot on the same trail twice. This is one of my top areas for hiking in Phoenix because it offers a great variety of easy-to-challenging hikes just 30 minutes outside the city.
Easy to Moderate
Granite Mountain Loop — 5.1 miles, ~ 2.5 hours
Granite Mountain Loop is one of the most popular hikes in the area thanks to its captivating views of wildflowers, cacti, and the rocky Sonoran desert.
I love this hike because it’s a flat loop so you don’t have to worry about any strenuous inclines. As a bonus, Granite Mountain Loop is also dog-friendly!
To make the most of your visit, I highly suggest arriving early to avoid crowds of hikers and beat the sweltering Arizona heat.
Gateway Loop Trail — 4.4 miles, ~ 2 hours
For a more moderate hike in the Preserve, try Gateway Loop Trail.
This trail is super popular with hikers and mountain bikers so you can expect it to get pretty busy. If you can, try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when temps are a bit cooler and there are usually fewer visitors.
The first two miles of this hike are moderately challenging as you’re steadily heading uphill, but the last 2.4 are a breeze.
Make sure to wear good hiking shoes because Gateway Loop Trail is very rocky.
Lost Dog Wash Trail to Ringtail Trail Loop — 4.4 miles, ~ 2.5 hours
Another moderate hike I recommend exploring is Lost Dog Wash Trail to Ringtail Trail Loop.
You’ll begin your journey following an old Jeep road that steadily climbs in elevation for about a half mile.
After crossing a couple of washes you’ll find yourself atop a ridge where you’ll head toward Lost Dog Wash. Keep right at the Lost Dog Wash intersection and head for the summit of Taliesin Ridge.
From the ridge, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of Camelback Mountain, Squaw Peak, and Pinnacle Peak.
Moderate to Hard
Tom’s Thumb Trail — 4.4 miles, ~ 2.5 hours
Up for a challenge? Try tackling Tom’s Thumb Trail, a short switchback trail that starts at Tom’s Thumb trailhead and leads you up to Tom’s Thumb spur.
You might get a bit out of breath at the start of this hike as you head uphill, but once you make it to the peak it’s all downhill from there!
There is very little shade on this trail so bring plenty of water and sunscreen for a safe, enjoyable hike.
Pinnacle Peak Park is a very popular spot for hiking in Phoenix and Pinnacle Peak Trail is the perfect option for hikers seeking a moderate challenge.
Pinnacle Peak Trail — 4 miles, ~ 2 hours
About a half mile into Pinnacle Peak Trail you’ll come to Grandview rest stop which offers sweeping views of nearby McDowell Mountain and the valley below.
Continue along the trail for another mile and you’ll arrive at another viewpoint called Owls Rest where you can spot Camelback Mountain in the distance.
Pinnacle Peak Trail is very popular with hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers, so try to visit earlier in the day when the park is less crowded.
Echo Canyon Recreation Area is a charming park that offers three hiking trails for visitors to choose from. As a bonus, parking is free at this spot!
Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon Trail — 2.5 miles, ~ 1 hour
Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon Trail is perfect if you want a rewarding and challenging hike.
The trail is short at just 2.5 miles roundtrip, but you’ll gain almost 1,500 feet of elevation along the way.
You’ll get a great leg workout in as you tackle this hike, but make sure to visit early before the parking lot fills up.
Phoenix Mountains Preserve is a beautiful park with a large selection of trails ranging from easy to hard. With an endless supply of breathtaking views, wildlife, and vegetation, this is one of my favorite areas to go hiking in Phoenix.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 — 2.1 miles, ~ 1.5 hours
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 is a short but strenuous hike that leads you straight to the top of Piestewa Peak.
This hike might not be very long, but it’s almost entirely uphill. The trail is well-marked and some areas of the path even have carved steps and railings so you know exactly where to go.
One of the best ways to enjoy Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 is to set out just before sunset. Remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight because the area gets very dark once the sun has gone down.
The last area I recommend for hiking in Phoenix is Tonto National Forest. This gorgeous wilderness area is just a 30-minute drive from Phoenix, making it the perfect destination for a day trip.
Keep in mind you’ll have to pay a $7 entrance fee during the week or a $10 fee on the weekend to hike in Tonto National Forest.
Treasure Loop Trail – 2.3 miles, ~ 1.5 hours
Treasure Loop Trail is a beautiful and relatively easy hike that’s perfect for the entire family.
Spring is an excellent time of year to explore this Phoenix hike because there are usually tons of wildflowers blooming along the trail.
You’ll catch glimpses of cacti, flowers, desert wildlife, and interesting rock formations as you journey along Treasure Loop Trail, so make sure to bring your camera.
Wind Cave Trail – 2.9 miles, ~2 hours
Wind Cave Trail is another great option in Tonto National Forest for anyone wanting a moderate challenge.
This out-and-back hike is especially popular given how scenic and beginner-friendly it is, so expect the trail to be pretty crowded.
The trail starts relatively flat but gradually gains elevation and becomes rockier the further you hike. The views at the end of Phoenix and the valley below are stunning and def worth the effort!
And there you have my picks for the best hiking in Phoenix! Drop me a comment below or on Insta (@wtfab) with your Phoenix hiking recs.
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Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.