Written by Michael

3min read


Phoenix, Arizona, is renowned for being one of the top cities in the USA for scenic hikes that will take your breath away. The city sits in the middle of the desert but is punctuated and surrounded by many hills and mountains that offer great views of the area. If you’re visiting the city and staying with friends, family, or in a great IHG hotel in Phoenix, then you have to take in at least one of these trails. These rocky outcrops are just waiting to be explored!

Echo Canyon Trail

8348988406_2cc56654af_hImage via Flickr by edwardhblake

This is a 2.5-mile hike that takes on the famous Camelback Mountain through the Echo Canyon Trail. The trail offers some of the best views of the city of Phoenix and is short but has some steep sections to challenge you. The mountain is on an old Native reservation, so this hike is beautiful and historic!

Mormon Trail

The Morman Trail is a moderate 5-mile loop trail in which you climb over 1,200 feet in elevation. The loop is part of South Mountain Park and will take you through some great rock formations. Many hikers comment on how this trail is perfect for running and mountain biking. The trail is usually not too busy, and you can enjoy some great views of Phoenix.

Lookout Mountain

16086750889_b8d5ba4131_hImage via Flickr by Alex Ballard

If you want a quick workout with great views, then this short and moderate 1-mile trail is perfect. In this mile, you gain 400 feet in elevation. The top lives up to its name. At the summit of Lookout Mountain, you’ll have great views of landmarks such as Shaw Butte and North Mountain. This hike is a must at sunrise or sunset.

Superstition Ridgeline

8348988502_311279bd9b_hImage via Flickr by edwardhblake

Superstition Ridgeline is the longest hike on this list at just under 11 miles. It’s also the hardest. It’s point to point and will take you to the summit of Superstition Peak. The hard work is definitely rewarded. The views from the top are unrivaled in the Phoenix Metro area. Be sure to take more food and water than you think you’ll need.

Siphon Draw Trail

This one is a popular 5.5-mile out-and-back trail that starts flat but suddenly gets very rocky. On your journey, you’ll pass some great rock formations and beautiful wildflowers. You’ll also gain 2,800 feet in elevation. It can be hard to stay on the trail on the way up, so make sure to follow the markers.

Sunrise Peak Trail

16272615675_f487a5731b_hImage via Flickr by Alex Ballard

Sunrise Peak Trail is a 4-mile out-and-back trail which leads to spectacular 360-degree views of North Scottsdale. The trail is moderate with some steep climbs. There will also be a chance to see some wildlife, such as javelinas and many different birds. Head out in the early morning to catch the stunning sunrises that Arizona has to offer.

Tom’s Thumb Trail

This is another 4-mile out-and-back trail located in Scottsdale that leads to Tom’s Thumb, which is an epic rock formation. On the way up, you’ll come across a plethora of beautiful wildflowers and plants and encounter the local wildlife, such as giant millipedes. The trail has no water, so make sure you take more than enough with you.

These are some of the best trails in and around the city for you to enjoy. Remember to take more food and water than you think you’ll need, and you’ll have a blast exploring the great outdoors in Phoenix!

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23 thoughts on “The Coolest Scenic Hikes in and Around Phoenix, AZ

  1. Solid recommendations, all of them. I enjoy reading your reviews.
    One of the things that still amazes me about Phoenix, after living here for six years, is the incredible open space preserves that exist within city limits – South Mountain Park, Papago Park and Phoenix Mountains Preserve to name a few.

  2. Great recap on the Greater Phoenix area trails. I lived there in the late 70’s, bought my first home but “Eminent Domain” took it away. Still and all, I have moved on to many other locations and your work brought back many fond memories. Thanks and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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  4. I literally cracked up reading that you mentioned a 5 mile hike being “moderate”. I’m so out of shape that’d I’d drop dead at mile 2 lol!! Sooooo, in a few weeks I opted to schedule a rafting trip down the Colorado River instead of hiking! Hopefully I’ll get to see some similar rock formations on my journey.

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