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So, you’ve taken a travel nursing assignment in Phoenix and you’re ready to get outdoors. What better way to enjoy the area’s more than 300 days of sunshine each year than with a beautiful hike through the desert? We’ve found Phoenix’s top trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to tough workouts, ready for you to tackle!
1. Echo Canyon Summit Trail
5700 North Echo Canyon Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85018
2.1 Miles, Difficult
The Echo Canyon Summit Trail is one of Phoenix’s most popular, reaching the summit of the iconic Camelback Mountain. This 2.1-mile out and back trail is rated as extremely difficult, but offers spectacular views of the Phoenix metro area. Locals recommend getting there early, as parking is limited and the trail offers no shade in the summer sun. Dogs prohibited.
2. Piestewa Peak Summit Trail
2800 East Squaw Peak Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85016
1.2 Miles, Moderate
Piestewa Peak is the second highest peak in Phoenix, behind Camelback Mountain. Those who reach the summit enjoy 360-degree panoramic views including the Phoenix and Scottsdale skylines. The Piestewa Summit Trail has become one of the most popular in the country and welcomes thousands of hikers per week. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. Dogs and bicycles prohibited.
3. Telegraph Pass
14251 South Desert Foothills Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85048
2.3 Miles, Easy
An easily accessible hike that is very popular with joggers and dog walkers. The first mile of the trail features a textured concrete surface for easy walking before splitting to continue to Telegraph Pass or on to the Desert Classic Trail. At the summit, Telegraph Pass offers excellent views of the Phoenix metro area, and some Hohokam Indian petroglyphs are visible along the trail. Leashed dogs and bicycles permitted.
4. Gateway Loop, McDowell Sonoran Preserve
18333 North Thompson Peak Parkway
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
4.5 Miles, Moderate
An impeccably maintained trail which despite being on the edge of Phoenix, makes you feel like you’re in a much more remote area. This 4.5-mile loop wanders up to a low saddle before winding back to the Gateway Trailhead. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. Leashed dogs and bicycles are permitted on the trail.
625 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
.25 Miles, Easy
Take a quick hike from the car to see this surprising rock formation in Papago Park. Hole-in-the-Rock was naturally formed 6-15 million years ago by erosion and holds evidence of the Hohokam Indians who settled the area. Afterwards, check out the surrounding park, covering 1,200 acres and offering a wide variety of outdoor fun including the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
Remember to always follow proper safety precautions when hiking. Even though the nights are cooler, the bright Arizona sun causes temperatures to rise quickly, sometimes to dangerous levels. Make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen while outdoors, plus lightweight clothing that will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. And always bring along plenty of water for everyone in your hiking party – including any pets!