5 Easy Hikes for Beginners in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Outdoors

benchviews.jpg
Nina Gruber
Benches and views: A welcome stopping point for any hiker
For either those not quite ready for the butt-kicking that some mountains around the Valley provide or others who simply want to try a new thing, there are plenty of easy hikes in Phoenix for the novice hiker. With proper hiking shoes, a good amount of water, and comfortable clothes, these five hikes (listed from easiest to most challenging) are feasible for any beginner looking to explore the desert trails in metro Phoenix.

See also:
Piestewa Peak Hiking Trail Alternatives in Phoenix Mountain Preserve
8 Tips for Summer Hiking in Arizona

amphitheater.JPG
Nina Gruber
The amphitheater along the Big Butte Loop
McDowell Mountain: Wagner Short Loop Trail
A 1.6-mile flat trail through the north campground of McDowell Mountain Regional Park, this path is crisscrossed with many others that start around here. Despite the slight confusion at various forks in the road, it is a straightforward trail through washes and luscious desert. The path is particularly special in the spring, when the land is covered by huge patches of colorful wildflowers. Take in the views on this desert walk, as the McDowell Mountain range will provide a lovely back drop to this meandering desert trail.

Papago Park: Big Butte Loop Trail
A multi-purpose path that is just over a mile, the Big Butte Loop Trail is easily accessed via nearby popular destinations like the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden. Circumnavigating one of the larger sandstone buttes in the park, this trail begins at the Eliot Ramada and continues through the dry, red desert of Papago, passing the amphitheater on McDowell and gently curving back to the beginning. A level hike, the path is a geologist's dream, surrounded by interesting rock formations, though also providing us normal people with lovely views of the Valley and a nice desert escape in the middle of town.

Location Info

Map

Piestewa Peak Park

2701 E. Squaw Peak Drive, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Papago Park

625 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Pinnacle Peak Park

26802 N. 102nd Way, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Usery Mountain Regional Park

3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Phoenix Zoo

455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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8 comments
Louise Stevens
Louise Stevens

BRING A TRASH BAG SO YOU CAN HELP KEEP AZ PRISTINE.

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

I'm so happy you didn't put my favorite trail on the list. Last thing I need is more yahoo's on the trail I frequent ;-)

Tippatine Puccio
Tippatine Puccio

i mean, who wants to hike flat in a place with mountains? i did most of these, but i liked to hike in the heat...lol

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

For the love of God, publishing this primer for beginning hikers on a day when its going to be 111 degrees may not have been the best timing.  BEGINNERS - predict how much water you think you'll need and then triple it.  You need much more water than you think you'll need and if you don't have it you'll be calling 911 to help you finish your hike on a gurney.  This is a brutal time of year to start hiking if you are not an experienced Phoenix hiker. 

Heath Clouse
Heath Clouse

If more of these hiking in Phoenix articles would come out when it isn't 105 degrees, it would nice. Just sayin'.

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