Ten Best Hikes in Phoenix, Arizona

A Guide to the Ten Best Hikes in Phoenix, AZ  
Arizona, the Grand Canyon State. Home to stunning mountain ranges, valleys, canals, and ancient saguaro cacti. It is no wonder that hiking in Phoenix is a popular activity and even a part of the local lifestyle. The Phoenix area offers a unique desert landscape and a multitude of trails for both the more experienced hiker and those just looking to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you are a newcomer or a native, soaking up our year-round sunshine and hiking to get the best views of Phoenix is a must.

Before You Hike, Don't Forget These Necessities:

  • Dress appropriately - proper hiking shoes with traction, Desert Dweller Co. Icon Hat, sunglasses for you and your Little Dwellers sunglasses, and sunscreen

  • Team up - Hike with others and make sure you always know where they are. Get your whole squad Desert Dweller Co. matching shirts so you don’t lose each other.

  • Bring water - Hydrate before, during, and after your hike. Always bring more than you think you will need and refill your Desert Dweller Co. bottle at the trailhead. A good rule of thumb is to turn around and head back to the trailhead before you drink half of your water. 

  • Watch the weather- Yes, “it’s a dry heat” but the temperatures can be deceiving. Hike when it’s cool outside, try early mornings or early evenings when it’s not too hot out.

  • Backpack- Put your DD water bottle, a towel (for sweat), your phone or camera for those Phoenix mountain shots, and snacks just in case! 
  • Now that you’ve got your supplies and are ready to experience the incredible views The Valley has to offer, here is a list of 10 of the best hikes in The Valley! All of the trails below are free and are below based on level of difficulty.  

    Easy Hikes

  • Double Butte Loop  (Distance 2-3 mile loop) 
  • Hole in the Rock trail in Papago Park (825 feet out and back) 
  • Location- Papago Park, Phoenix, AZ 

    Trail Map

    Check out the red sandstone formations of Papago Park by hiking around and inside of them. This two-part hike can begin with an easier dirt loop starting in the West Park parking lot. Then, with a short drive across the street to the east side, you can climb stairs to the Hole in the Rock landmark to get views of the stunning natural landscape, some desert-inspired pictures, and see the distant downtown skyline.

  • Desert Tortoise Trail (1.1 mile out & back)
  • Location- Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve, Phoenix, AZ

    Trail Map

    This trail offers an easy climb with beautiful views of the desert. As you walk along the desert floor you will get the chance to take in a variety of cacti, desert flowers, and even some wildlife, like cactus wrens or owls. Let us know if you happen to come across a tortoise...we have yet to. 


  • Canal Trails (Distance varies)
  • Location- Pick your starting point

    Trail Map

    The Phoenix Canals hold a special place in our hearts as the Desert Dweller Co. These historic waterways built by the original Desert Dwellers are not only a great way to see our mountain ranges and beautiful neighborhoods but also see for yourself how Arizona conserves water. You can learn more about the history of the canals here History of the Phoenix Water Canals

    Medium Difficulty

  • Pinnacle Peak Trail in Pinnacle Peak Park (3.5 miles out and back)
  • Location: Pinnacle Peak Park, Scottsdale, AZ

    Trail Map

    Pinnacle Peak Trail offers fantastic views of North Scottsdale. If you are looking to level yourself  up a bit from the  easy hikes, this hike would be a great one to try. This trail is well maintained, and allows for running, biking, and hiking with kids. If you are planning a trip to Phoenix in the spring, you must see the desert wildflowers in bloom on this trail. These flowers highlight the trail with their beautiful orange, pink, yellow and purple colors. 

  • Cholla Loop in Thunderbird Conservation Park (3.5 mile loop)
  • Location: Thunderbird Conservation Park, Glendale, AZ

    Trail Map

    The Cholla Loop is located on the West side of Phoenix in Glendale, AZ. This trail is quieter and less known by tourists, and offers a great workout with views overlooking the Phoenix area. Though a bit more strenuous, when you get to the top and see the American flag waving at you, you’ll know you’ve made it!

  • Lookout Mountain Summit Trail  (1.2 miles out and back)
  • Location: Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix, AZ

    Trail Map

    The Lookout Mountain Summit Trail is a quicker hike with a great lookout of the surrounding mountains and city. It’s short but steep so come prepared, with your hiking shoes to get you to the top. Although it is more vertical towards the top its manageable, and its short nature makes it the perfect spot for a quick evening hike before sunset.


  • Dixie Mountain Loop (3.82 mile loop)
  • Location: Desert Vista Trailhead, Phoenix, AZ

    Trail Map

    The Dixie Mountain Loop located in North Phoenix, it is a part of the dozens of hikes available in the Sonoran Preserve. As a longer, moderate level hike this one is still manageable. The trail also offers the benefit of less people around you. In order to get to this hike from the trailhead, begin at Hawk’s Nest and proceed to Dixie Mountain Loop.

    Hard | For More Experienced Hikers

    Echo Canyon Trail (2.4 miles out and back)

    Location: Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ

    Trail Map

    One of the most well-known hikes in Phoenix, conquering the Echo Canyon Trail is no easy feat. This challenging hike is uphill, steep, and at some points requires you to use your hands. If you're ready to take on this challenge, the views of Greater Phoenix at the top are incredible! This hike can easily be done in shorter segments by simply turning back and heading back down. Expect a busy trail, and be sure to have our hiking essentials with you!

  • Piestewa Summit Trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve (2.4 miles out and back)
  • Location: Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix, AZ

    Trail Map

    A close second in popularity to Camelback Mountain, this trail offers a definite challenge but a big scenic payoff. With an ascent from 1,400 to 2,608 feet, make sure you are fully prepared with water to get you to the top!

  • Tom’s Thumb Trailhead in McDowell Sonoran Preserve (4.6 miles out and back)
  • Location: McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve, Scottsdale, AZ 

    Trail Map

    Located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, this well-known and well-kept hike features a signature boulder formation (aka Tom’s Thumb) that we’d love to see a double thumbs- up photo with. You will enjoy upland Boulder fields and desert flora as you gain elevation, especially in the first two miles, of this more difficult trail. However, at the top there are incredible views of Scottsdale waiting for you!





    And there you have it! The ten best hikes in Phoenix. Just like the variety of Arizona mountain ranges, we have supplied you with a diverse list of epic trails to fit your unique needs. Let’s all enjoy our great state together!


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