8 Reasons Hiking in Phoenix Is Awesome

Categories: Outdoors

Nina Gruber
As the heat wave rolls on and we start to question our commitment to 120-degree weather, let's take a moment to remember the amazing things about Phoenix and the state of Arizona as a whole. We may not be Boulder, Portland, or Seattle, but we have incredible outdoor activities at our fingertips. Here are some reasons why it is so wonderful to hike in and around Phoenix.

See also:
8 Tips for Summer Hiking in Arizona
10 Favorite Hikes in the Valley

Nina Gruber
Quite the view.
Phoenix is surrounded by (and surrounds) some of the most unique urban park systems, thus providing Phoenicians with plenty of outdoor options within a quick 20-minute drive. And with just a bit of a longer drive, there are countless more options awaiting in all directions.

Climbing to the top of a mountain in the middle of a Valley guarantees great views of our city -- and beyond on clearer days.

The desert landscapes around Phoenix are so variable and particular to our part of the world, with each hike providing a unique perspective on the desert wildlife. Walking through South Mountain Park is a totally different from taking a trail in the McDowells, yet both are parts of Phoenix's greater landscape. To the casual observer, it's all desert, but we know better.

Statewide Diversity
If you are sick of the desert, especially in summer, Arizona offers many other options within driving distance of the Southern desert areas. Driving upstate reveals forests, rivers, canyons, and lakes that are ripe for exploring.

Despite not being known as a particularly outdoorsy town, there is a huge hiking community here in Phoenix, and once you become part of the crowd, it's easy to recognize a friendly face on the way up your usual climb. An open and welcoming community, we hikers are a loving bunch here in Phoenix, always ready to say hi and talk about the weather while walking up those Piestewa stairs.

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Roger Naylor
Roger Naylor

Walking has been described as controlled falling. Hiking for me is controlled falling in love. I'm hiking 1,000 miles of AZ trails this year (622 to date). I'm also writing my hiking and dining guide, Boots and Burgers. The book will be released in 2014 from Rio Nuevo Publishers.


I am originally from Indiana... so the simple fact there is elevation here is enough for me! We live near the Gateway Loop, and I LOVE that hike. Hope to do Tom's Thumb this fall.

Jackalope Ranch
Jackalope Ranch

Yeah. It would probably be tough for us to enjoy a hike if we were not, in fact, alive. :)

WreckItWalsh moderator

@rickyleepotts Tom's Thumb is a good one for staying in town. I think my favorite in AZ barring the Grand Canyon area (Havasupai)  is probably Mt Humphreys on the Humphreys-Weatherford-Kachina loop. It's about 20 miles so the hike is an all day thing, but the scenery is fantastic and Flagstaff usually has great weather.

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