Phoenix hiking is some of the best in the world, which is why National Geographic voted it one of the best hiking cities. There’s over 40,000 acres of desert and mountain hiking in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, with a hike for everyone at every skill level.
In the summer the temperature can get deadly, so plan your hikes for sunrise or sunset, and bring way more water than you think you need. You can also wear long sleeves and a shaded hat to keep cool. There’s not much shade in the desert. Camelback Mountain has more search and rescue cases than any other hike in the USA, conditions are serious. If you start getting a headache, muscle aches, dizziness, and/or nausea, you probably have heat stroke and need to stop immediately.
HikingGuy has the most popular hikes in turn-by-turn directions. If you want to explore more hikes in Phoenix and Scottsdale area, check out ArizonaHiking.org. Phoenix is also only 2 hours south of Sedona, AZ and a little over 3 hours away from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, so if you’re looking for a weekend of hiking, it’s probably worth the drive.
Phoenix’s Must-Do Hike
Camelback Mountain is the most popular hike, and it’s right in the middle of the city. The crowds can be unbearable, so avoid the more popular Echo Canyon Trail and take the Cholla Trail to the summit. Just a heads up before you hike – Camelback Mountain has more search and rescues than any other hike in the USA. Be careful, bring water, and don’t hike when it’s hot out.
Camelback Mountain Hike Directions
Best No Crowd Hike
If you want to avoid the crowds, head over to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and do the Gateway Loop trail for a Sonoran Desert sampler. The Preserve is very hiker friendly with maps and a visitor’s center. There are a lot of trails and you can custom build a hike at pretty much any distance that you want.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike Directions
List of Phoenix Hiking
|Camelback Mountain Hike – Cholla Trail||3.1||1540||Hard||No|
|McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike||4.5||620||Easy||Leashed|
All Phoenix Hiking
This “best of” McDowell Sonoran Preserve hike offers well-marked trails, easy climbs, nice views, and classic Sonoran desert scenery on the Gateway Loop Trail. The hike is a great intro hike to McDowell Sonoran Preserve and is suitable for all levels of hikers. And unlike Camelback Mountain, McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a peaceful oasis where you can connect with nature and unwind.
The Camelback Mountain hike is one of the most popular hikes in Phoenix. Camelback Mountain is just 20 minutes from downtown and can be seen all over the area, rising to 2,707 feet. It’s a popular spot for hikers, rock climbers, and tourists, so make sure you do the hike as early as possible, with sunrise being the sweet spot. There are a few ways to hike Camelback Mountain, and this guide takes the easier and more scenic Cholla Trail. It’s still a tough hike, but the Cholla Trail is a nicer way to hike Camelback Mountain, which is a must-do Phoenix hike.