Urban life in Phoenix is wonderfully complemented with access to numerous desert and mountain preserves. Sprinkled throughout neighborhoods in the Phoenix metro area are beloved havens for connecting with nature, and larger swathes of wilderness stand in most directions outside of the urban core.
The iconic Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak are popular destinations for locals and visitors alike. Both are close to the city center, strenuous, and offer unique views of the metro Phoenix area. Camelback Mountain Preserve offers two routes up the mountain, Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail, which are both worthwhile journeys. Because these are so popular, arriving early is recommended, and don’t forget your sunscreen and plenty of water.
For a more remote scene, travel east of the metro area to the Superstition Wilderness Area, contiguous with Lost Dutchman State Park, home to Flatiron Mountain. This beautiful hike is quite strenuous, but worth the view at top. Campsites, picnic areas, restrooms and showers are also available for an extended escape.
Four Peaks Wilderness is just north of Lost Dutchman and contains several trails. Brown’s Peak is the tallest of the four peaks, and is noted as the “premier climb in the Phoenix area”. An easier trail and a scrambling trail lead to a vista from which Humphreys Peak is visible on clear days.
If you’re more excited about faster paced recreation, South Mountain Park hosts Silent Sunday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month. On Silent Sunday, the park roads are closed to motor vehicle traffic and clear for biking. The climb to the top of South Mountain on Summit Road and the ensuing downhill return ride make for an exhilarating Sunday.
South Mountain is home to an array of mountain biking options. A list of reviews and information describing the “chillest trail in South Mountain” and “the king of Phoenix metro area trails” offers insider knowledge about the unique trails in the preserve. Phoenix Mountain Preserve, North Mountain Park, and Papago are a few additional close biking trail areas and many others surround the Phoenix city limits.
Connecting with nature and breathing fresh air is a great way to recharge yourself for a productive work week. Take a walk or a ride as a reward for all of the amazing things you do.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” - Albert Einstein