Hiking in Phoenix is amazing! In this guide, we explore the best Phoenix hikes and we give tips so that you have the best hiking experience.

Hiking In Phoenix, Arizona

We’d visited Phoenix and the surrounding areas many times throughout the years, but because they were always short weekend trips, we’d never gotten a chance to go hiking in Phoenix. That, however, recently changed.

Thanks to house sitting, we were able to spend about six weeks in Phoenix and during that time we took advantage and found some of the best Phoenix hikes. We even did a Camelback hike, which had been a bucket list item for us since our first visit to Phoenix.

During our time house sitting, we were able to do six Phoenix hikes. Four of these hikes we did with friends, two we did on our own. These hikes were suggested to us by locals as being the best hiking trails in Phoenix and we’re so glad and proud that we managed to do as many as we did.

Pro Tip: Also check out some of the hikes we did on our Girls Weekend in Sedona!

In this article, we talk about each of the Phoenix area hikes that we did as well as offer additional information and tips so that you can have the best hiking in Phoenix experience…

Pinnacle Peak Hike

If you’re looking for easy hiking trails in Phoenix, Pinnacle Peak is great. We chose this as our first hike to ease our way into things. The Pinnacle Peak hike is very popular because the dirt/gravel trails are very well marked and although there is an elevation change, it is fairly gradual.

The fact that the Pinnacle Peak hike is popular can be a good or bad thing. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to throw yourself into “nature” all at once, it’s great because you will see other people on the trail constantly. You may find that comforting (we did).

Others prefer not to see anyone at all. If you’re one of those people, you may not like the amount of people on this trail.

Along the trail, you’ll see placards that display information about the area’s flora and fauna, which we really liked. We learned that saguaro cacti that are over 30 feet tall are at least 175 years old! Stopping to read is also a good way to catch your breath and take a sip of water.

The Pinnacle Peak trail is not a loop. You hike out and can turn back at any point. Unfortunately, the trail goes along the side of the peak so you won’t get to the actual top, but you will still get great views. There are two marked areas, Grandview and Owl’s Rest with benches that allow you to rest and take in those great views.

We do want to point out that the last section of the trail is very strenuous. This last .25 mile stretch basically feels like you’re going down and then back up a stair climber. So again, if you’re looking for easy hikes in Phoenix, we recommend stopping at the 1.5 mile marker.

At the very end of the trail, you’ll be able to take a picture with the “End of Pinnacle Peak Trail” sign.

Trail length? 1.75 miles out and back, so 3.5 miles total.
Highest point? 2,889 feet is the highest point on the trail, Pinnacle Peak itself is 3,173 feet.
Are dogs allowed? Service dogs only.
Is there parking? Yes, there is a parking lot. However, it was full when we went and had to park along the street outside of the parking lot.
Address? 26802 N 102nd Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Pinnacle Peak is one of the best Phoenix hikes and the trail is mostly dirt and gravel
Most of the Pinnacle Peak trail is dirt and gravel
Vicky hugging a cactus
We’re fascinated by cacti!
Views during our Pinnacle Peak hike
Views during our Pinnacle Peak hike
This sign shows where Pinnacle Peak trail gets hard
This is where the trail gets hard
We finished Pinnacle Peak hike, one of the best Phoenix hikes
We finished!

Camelback Hike – Echo Trail

Climbing Camelback Mountain is an experience! It’s fun, but definitely very difficult. Camelback Mountain, named so because it looks like a camel, is an iconic Phoenix landmark and we’ve been wanting to climb to the top for years.

There are two Camelback Mountain trails: Echo Canyon and Cholla. The Cholla trail is longer, while the Echo trail is steeper. Cholla trail reaches the summit from the east, while Echo trail reaches it from the west. The Camelback trail we chose to hike was Echo Trail because we really wanted to push ourselves and see if we could make it to the top.

Echo Trail is rated as extremely difficult, so keep that in mind before deciding to do this hike. It is an out and back trail, and at times you will be scrambling up steep steps and rocks. On one of the hardest parts, there is a rail to hold on to. The bad part is that rail gets pretty hot in the Arizona sun.

Once you get to the summit, you’re rewarded with some pretty amazing views of Phoenix. And knowing you’re standing at the top of such a well-known landmark is pretty incredible. We’d rate this not only as one of the best Phoenix hikes, but also as one of the best places to hike in Arizona!

Trail length? 1.2 miles out and back, so 2.4 miles total.
Highest point? 2,704 feet.
Are dogs allowed? No.
Is there parking? Yes, there is a parking lot.
Address? Echo Canyon Trailhead: 4925 E McDonald Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018

steep climbing on the Camelback hike
Get ready for a steep climb!
climbing rocks on the Camelback Echo trail, one of the best hikes in Phoenix
So many rocks
The rail on Echo Trail helps, but it's also very hot
The rail helps, but it’s also very hot!
On the Camelback mountain summit
On the Camelback mountain summit

Telegraph Pass Hike

There are a few South Mountain hiking trails, but the one that was most recommended was the Telegraph Pass Trail. This was our third Phoenix hike, but the first we were going to be doing alone so we wanted to make sure it was well marked and not as extreme as the Camelback hike.

We really liked the Telegraph Pass hike because there were some challenging parts, but for the most part it was pretty moderate. It actually starts off with a paved road and at the point where the road ends you make a left to continue on the Telegraph Pass Trail or a right to go on the Desert Classic Trail.

After the paved road, the trail’s elevation increases steadily and there are some rocks, but nothing too crazy. The path is well marked and the last bit of the trail has stone steps. You’ve reached the end of the trail when you get to another paved road, Summit Road. There’s a small bench where you can rest and take in the views.

We recommend going just a bit further, though. What makes this one of the best hikes in Phoenix is that once you hit Summit Road you can connect to a few other trails. Most are at least nine additional miles, but the National West trail up to the Stone House is only an additional .3 miles and has great views.

So once you get to Summit Road, make a left. You can easily spot the Stone House and the trail that leads to it. Although the view from Summit Road was nice, the 360 views from the Stone House are well worth the extra bit of effort.

Trail length? 2.2 miles out and back, so 4.4 miles total. Add an additional .6 miles if you hike to the Stone House.
Highest point? Not sure.
Are dogs allowed? Yes, but they must remain on a leash.
Is there parking? Yes, there is a parking lot.
Address? 14251 S Desert Foothills Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85048

The Telegraph Pass hike starts with a paved road
The Telegraph Pass hike starts with a paved road
The trail then becomes dirt and gravel
The trail then becomes dirt and gravel
The bench on Summit Road indicates the end of the trail, but off to the left you can see the Stone House
The bench on Summit Road indicates the end of the trail, but off to the left you can see the Stone House
Heading towards the Stone House near Telegraph Pass Hike
Heading towards the Stone House
Buddy enjoying the view from the Stone House
Buddy enjoying the view from the Stone House

Granite Mountain Hike

Inside the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is Granite Mountain. At 3,500 feet, it’s a pretty impressive sight. The Granite Mountain Trail loops around the base of the mountain, so it’s one of the easy hiking trails in Phoenix because there isn’t much elevation gain and the trail is mostly dirt and gravel.

The trickier thing about the Granite Mountain hike, however, is that there are actually two loops so you have to really pay attention while you’re out there. The long route is 6.1 miles and the short route is 3.3 miles. They both start from the same place, so if you’re wanting to do the short loop like we did make sure you pay attention to the signs or you’ll end up passing your turn and going a longer distance.

If you want your hiking in Phoenix experience to really be out in the wilderness, this is the hike for you. We didn’t see anyone until we were over half way around the loop. We were a little nervous. What if we got lost or got bit by a rattlesnake? But like we said earlier, you may not want the crowds and can appreciate the solitude.

The terrain itself was cool though because you did see desert landscape along with some pretty big boulders. There is a designated Scenic View area and the views are nice but since there isn’t much of an elevation change, the views aren’t as dramatic as some of the others we’d seen. At the Scenic View is actually where we ran into the first person along the trail.

And although we didn’t see any, we could tell the trail is used by horses as well. So it’s an easy trail (no rocks or steps), but you do still have to watch where you’re stepping.

Trail length? The short loop is 3.3 miles, the long route is 6.1 miles.
Highest point? Not sure, but there isn’t much of an elevation change.
Are dogs allowed? Yes, but they must remain on a leash.
Is there parking? Yes, there is a parking lot.
Address? 31402 N 136th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

On the Granite Mountain hike the pass is easy to follow
On the Granite Mountain hike the pass is easy to follow
Lots of Saguaro Cacti along the Granite Mountain hike
Lots of Saguaro Cacti
At the Scenic View area of the Granite Mountain hike
At the Scenic View area
At the Scenic View area of the Granite Mountain hike
Our view

Mormon Trail Hike To Fat Man’s Pass

We returned to check out another of the South Mountain hiking trails, this time the Mormon Trailhead that leads to Fat Man’s Pass. The Mormon Trail hike itself isn’t long, but it goes up in elevation pretty quickly so it’s considered a moderate hike.

The Mormon Trail hike to Fat Man’s Pass is both an out and back hike and a loop hike because you hike out to what’s known as Hidden Valley, do a loop around that, and then head back. Picturing a spoon might help lol!

So you begin going up Mormon’s trail (remember to turn around for great views) and then the landscape changes completely when you get to Hidden Valley. It’s a wash area and the trail turns from gravel to sand. There are also giant boulders and you’ll see a lot more wildlife here.

While in the Hidden Valley loop you can go through a pretty cool tunnel and, of course, Fat Man’s Pass. This is a very narrow space between two boulders (I had to take the small pack I was carrying off of my shoulders). You don’t have to walk through it if you don’t want; you can walk around and over the boulder instead.

Once you’ve finished the Hidden Valley loop, you will meet up again with the Mormon trail, and then you can start making your way back to the parking lot.

Trail length? 3.8 miles round trip.
Highest point? Not sure.
Are dogs allowed? Yes, but they must remain on a leash.
Is there parking? Yes, there is a parking lot.
Address? 8610 S 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85042

The Mormon Trail hike is pretty steep
The Mormon Trail hike is pretty steep
Views from Mormon's Trail hike
Remember to turn around for amazing views
The tunnel on the Hidden Valley loop
The tunnel on the Hidden Valley loop
Fat Man's Pass
Fat Man’s Pass
Vicky going through Fat Man's Pass
Whoo!

Piestewa Peak Hike

Piestewa Peak, also known by locals as Squaw Peak, is in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve which makes it one of the best Phoenix hikes because it can be reached quickly and easily. This does make it a bit crowded, however, especially on the weekends.

Standing at 2,608 feet, Piestewa Peak is the second highest point in the Phoenix Mountains after Camelback Mountain. To get to the top, we hiked the Piestewa Peak summit trail. Like the Camelback hike, you will be scrambling up some very steep areas.

The Piestewa Peak summit trail begins with a mixture of concrete, dirt, and gravel. The trail is easy to follow, but do be careful going up because the steps can be sharp. This hike is definitely an intense workout. Towards the top you’re pretty much climbing rocks, so take your time as you watch where you place your feet and hands.

The 360 views at the top are definitely worth the climb though. As we caught our breath and took in the beautiful landscape before us, it was easy to see why this is considered one of the best hikes in Phoenix.

Trail length? 1.18 miles out and back, so 2.36 miles total.
Highest point? 2,608 feet.
Are dogs allowed? No.
Is there parking? Yes, there are multiple parking lots but the first lot on the left is closest to the trailhead.
Address? 5994 E Squaw Peak Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Piestewa Peak hike stairs
Get ready for your legs to burn!
Some of the views as we climbed Piestewa Peak
Some of the views as we climbed
Piestewa Peak steps
More steps
Vicky and Buddy on the Piestewa Peak summit
On the Piestewa Peak summit
Getting down Piestewa Peak can be tricky lol!
Getting down can be tricky lol!
Vicky and Kevin of Exploring the Prime
Big shout out to Kevin of Exploring the Prime for going on some of these hikes with me!!

Tips For Hiking in Phoenix

While you’re out on your Phoenix hikes, we want to make sure you’re as prepared and comfortable as possible so we’ve put together the following tips…

  • Before your hike, make sure you check the weather for potential dust or rain storms. You don’t want to be out hiking when those hit. Also, during hotter months we recommend starting as early as possible.
  • Use the restrooms at the trailhead entrances; there are no restrooms out on the trails.
  • Take a photo with your phone of the trail map at the trailhead entrance. We especially recommend this for the Granite Mountain Hike and Mormon Trail Hike To Fat Man’s Pass.
  • This may seem obvious, but take water. You’d be surprised how many people go out with either no water or not enough water. We recommend having a camelbak backpack so you can also take advantage of extra pockets and compartments.
  • Wear the proper gear. Hiking boots or sneakers with good tread are important so you don’t slide off of rocks. A hat and sunglasses are important and remember to apply sweat-proof sunblock. We also recommend taking hiking gloves on the Camelback Hike and the Piestewa Peak Hike to avoid get your hands scratched up on rocks.
  • Take snacks like fruit or granola bars to keep your energy up. It’s very important that you don’t leave anything behind though, so take a Ziploc bag for trash. There is signage explaining that orange and banana peels and apple cores are not biodegradable in our lifetime and that the desert wildlife will not eat them. Gum also harms wildlife. So again, don’t leave anything behind.
  • Do not remove rocks or wild flowers; it’s illegal.
  • Be aware of critters and snakes. If you see or hear a rattlesnake, freeze and slowly back away.
  • If you go hiking with your dog, clean up after them. We recommend biodegradable poop bags.
  • Most parks are open from sunrise to sunset but some allow hiking at night. We suggest taking a headlamp or flashlight.
  • If hiking solo, let a friend or family member know what trail you will be taking and when you estimate you will leave and return.

Booking.com

Final Thoughts On Hiking In Phoenix

We had a lot of fun hiking around Phoenix! We loved getting to know the terrain and learning about the local wildlife. There are a lot more Phoenix hikes we want to do though, so hopefully we can go back soon and continue adding to this list of best hikes in Phoenix.

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Hiking in Phoenix is amazing! In this guide, we explore the best Phoenix hikes and we give tips so that you have the best hiking experience.