Hiking is a very popular activity in the Phoenix area.  Many visitors to the valley like to challenge themselves to climb to a high point just to get a majestic view of the surrounding peaks and the valley below.  Many visitors also succumb to heat exhaustion and dehydration from the heat of our desert sun.  Every week rescue crews are called out to provide emergency evacuation for a hiker who has fallen, become faint and disoriented, or injured themselves.

In Arizona, we have what is called a “stupid motorist law” that applies to drivers who ignore warning signs not to drive into standing water on a roadway.  Many of these drivers have their cars swept away in a flash flood especially during monsoon season in the summer months.  They may be charged the costs of having a rescue crew save them from drowning.  While a “stupid hiker law” has not been passed in Arizona, it gets proposed each year because of the high number and high costs of rescuing hikers who have not carried enough water with them and become dehydrated before they can return from their hike or because they are not physically fit.  This happens to experienced and novice hikers alike!  Hiking in the desert is different from hiking anywhere else because of the heat. You have been warned!  Read and heed the signs that are posted at every trailhead because you may not even be able to call 9-1-1 if your cell phone can’t get a signal.

Cholla Cove Park – 0.5 miles from Anasazi Village (across Stonecreek Golf Course from Anasazi)
4121 E Lupine Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85028
Time:  Park open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

This park offers easy, limited hiking for someone who wants more than a casual walk along the trail between Anasazi Village and Stonecreek Golf course but wants to avoid the challenges of climbing on an uneven trail.  Amenities include a lighted basketball court, picnic area, grills, drinking fountain, playground, small roofed shelters, two unlit sand volleyball courts, and a fitness course.

Phoenix Mountain Preserve - 40th St. Trailhead – 1.9 miles from Anasazi Village
9200 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85028
Time:  Park entrance hours vary depending on sunrise and sunset but trail hours are 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

This area is also known as the Piestewa Peak and Dreamy Draw recreation areas.  The 2,608-foot Piestewa Peak offers diverse desert landscapes and fantastic views of secluded valleys.  The 40th St. Trailhead is one of six trailheads leading to miles of trails for hikers to enjoy.  Please read and observe the advice, cautions, and rules posted on the website to avoid any unpleasant outcomes from hiking in the area.

Shadow Mountain - Acoma Dr. Access – 2.7 miles from Anasazi Village
2601 E Acoma Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85032
Time:  Trail hours 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission:  Free, street parking only.  This is NOT a trailhead.

Though lower in elevation than nearby summits, Lookout and Shadow Mountains provide a chance to hike to a peak and enjoy vistas without the crowds and steep elevation gains of nearby Piestewa Peak and North Mountain.  Please read and observe the advice, cautions, and rules posted on the website to avoid any unpleasant outcomes from hiking in the area.

Lookout Mountain Trailhead – 4.2 miles from Anasazi Village
15600 N 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85020
Time:  Trail hours 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

The same website covers the info for Lookout Mountain as well as for Shadow Mountain above since they are adjacent to each other.  These mountains are smaller cousins to the more popular North Mountain area, located just to the south.  The Lookout Mountain Trailhead is conveniently located a short distance from the Route 51 expressway so it is easy to get there.  Another option is to start your hike at Lookout Mountain Park, 1898 E Evans Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85022 which has a large parking lot and easy hiking trails.

Shaw Butte Trailhead – 4.5 miles from Anasazi Village
12950 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85022
Time:  Trail hours 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., park entrance hours 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

Shaw Butte (2,149 feet high) is an easily recognizable landmark in the north valley skyline. The mountain offers a wide array of trail options for hikers of all abilities. Be sure to observe the trail guide difficulty rating when choosing which trail to hike so you don’t overextend yourself. Some trails offer beautiful views of the desert wildflowers when they bloom in the spring season. Read the rules posted on the website for Shaw Butte Trailhead and North Mountain.

North Mountain Visitor Center – 4.5 miles from Anasazi Village
12950 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85022
Time:  Trail hours 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., park entrance hours 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

We have provided the same address for North Mountain as for Shaw Butte even though there are other entrances to the hiking trails.  First time visitors to this hiking area will want to start here.  Please check the website for the hours that the center is open.  The center offers a wealth of information including trail maps, brochures and pamphlets about the Sonoran Desert, displays, exhibits, plus guides who can answer your questions.  The website also offers a schedule for workshops and musical performances being held at the center.  If this is your first exposure to hiking in the Phoenix area, this is the best place to start to get all the info you need for future hiking adventures.

Reach 11 Recreation Area – 4.9 miles from Anasazi Village
19226 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
Time:  Trail hours 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission:  Free.

Reach 11 Recreation Area is 1,500 acres and about 7 miles long and less than 1/2 mile wide.  There are 18 miles of seven foot wide, groomed, multi-use trails that bisect the entire park.  Home to the Arizona Horse Lovers Park, this is a popular area for equestrian programs and events.  Across Tatum Blvd is the Barrier Free Nature Trail which is part of the Reach 11 Recreation Area but with a separate parking lot.  It offers paved, flat trails accessible to people with wheelchairs and strollers.

Last updated: September 12, 2019

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