Hiking seems to lurk on our subconscious “things-to-do” list throughout the seasons, but it’s hard to make time for it in the scurry of daily life. Luckily, Phoenix harbors some easy trails and paths right in the city, ones that are perfect for quick hikes and much-needed time-out moments. Here are a few free and accessible spots you can access at a moment’s notice.
Papago Park may feel like a serious time commitment because of its enormous acreage, but there are actually some very easy hiking trails that don’t require a major effort. This hilly desert park spans both Phoenix and Tempe and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dozens of trails interlace within the park, but a quick jaunt is the Double Butte Loop Trail. Its terrain is relatively flat, and it makes a full loop that avoids the dreaded double-back to your parking location. If you have a bit more time for exploring, you can add some hill climbs, do some mountain biking, take the orienteering course, or visit the park’s Desert Botanical Garden.
Hole in the Rock
Although Hole in the Rock is actually part of Papago Park, it’s considered a major attraction in its own right. The arkosic conglomeritic red sandstone formation features tafoni openings once used by the Hohokam aboriginal tribe for marking the equinoxes and solstices. A gentle ascending path behind the main hill leads to the opening and primary chamber, creating an easy 0.3-mile hike with spectacular views of the city. Bring a light jacket for the constant wind that blows through the opening. You can take your canine buddies with you on this hike as well.
Nestled within central Phoenix, Encanto Park is one of the most family-friendly outdoor playgrounds in the city. Covering 222 acres, the park features a gentle nature trail where kids can view myriad bird species and learn about various plant species and trees. Walking paths lead to playgrounds and a lagoon with picnic areas. When little legs get weary, you can all hop aboard a train that circles the park throughout the day. With time to spare, walk over to Enchanted Island Amusement Park or rent a paddleboat at the lake.
Old Town Scottsdale Waterfront Promenade
If you like a little retail therapy thrown in with your walking trail, the waterfront promenade at Old Town Scottsdale is the place to be. While strolling the approximate one mile of palm-lined waterfront pathway, you can stop for boutique shopping, salon treatments and espresso sipping. Who says that hiking has to revolve around nature? In Phoenix, you can have it both ways.
Whether choosing a day of hiking or an evening of nightlife, it’s all at your fingertips when you live in the city. Check out our community of Phoenix apartments today and ask about exclusive move-in specials.