Looking for the best hikes in Phoenix? You’ve come to the right place. This guide covers the best trails and the top tips you need to know.

Strap on your boots and pack your day bag; if you’re heading to Phoenix, tackling one of the city’s many beautiful trails is inevitable. 

In fact, I’d wager that the Valley of the Sun boasts an extensive range of trails tailored for every skill level. There’s just something about the city that makes me want to explore – it’s so easy to feel entranced by the desert beauty and sunny weather year-round.

Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or not, adding one of these trails to your Phoenix itinerary will guarantee stunning vistas and epic adventures. Let’s dive in.

Best Hikes in Phoenix

Hole in the Rock Trail 

Length: 0.3 Miles

Time: 10 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy 

Papago Park Phoenix

Not sure where to hike in Phoenix? Papago Park should be your first destination. And Hole in the Rock is a short and easy hike, ideal for newbies. 

You can’t go wrong with this trail to snap some unique pictures for the gram – that’s because this dog-friendly hike boasts stunning views of the red rock formations and, you guessed it, the hole in the rock. 

It’s a fun walk with much to see, but it can get crowded, so try coming early in the morning or late evening. Some parts are a bit rocky, but it should mainly be a breeze. 

Open year-round, this is a great little hike to take in the sunrise or sunset. The trailhead is at 625 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, where you can also park. 

Suggested Map  

Double Butte Loop Trail 

Length: 2.2 Miles

Time: 45 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy 

You’ll find the Double Butte Loop trail around the West side of Papago Park for a quick and easy journey through rugged nature. There’s so much to do here – from hiking and running to mountain biking and cave-dwelling. 

It’s a popular hike near Phoenix and Tempe which you can visit year-round, but April through October are the best times to visit. It’s also one of the few dog-friendly treks with off-leash conditions in some areas. 

You’ll start at the West Park Parking Lot and continue on a smooth trail surface adorned with vivid local flora and striking geology. Short but sweet describes this trail perfectly.

Suggested Map  

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 

Length: 2.1 Miles

Time: 40 Minutes

Difficulty: Hard 

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 

Don’t judge a book by its cover or, in this case, a trail by its length. Even experienced hikers don’t dare scoff at this trail jam-packed with challenges despite its short size.  

This tricky out-and-back trail is a big hit among walkers, runners and curious sightseers thanks to its proximity to the Phoenix metropolitan area. But they often don’t quite know what they’re getting into.

While gorgeous, I should warn you that there’s no shade, lots of bugs and it’s slippery here and there. Don’t feel deterred, though, the ethereal sunset views should make up for it. Head to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve from the Piestewa Peak Drive to locate the trailhead.

Suggested Map 

Hidden Valley Trail Via Mormon Trail

Length: 3.6 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Hidden Valley Joshua Tree

Hidden Valley trail via Mormon trail in the South Mountain Preserve is one of the best hiking trails in Phoenix. Starting at the Mormon trailhead, you’ll inch through tunnels and dry waterfalls. But the reward? Unforgettable views. 

The first mile of this trek will be the toughest, but it shouldn’t scare off eager beginners. Expect scrambling and tight squeezing through big boulders when you reach the trail.

You don’t want to arrive late though, as the parking fills up quickly. So I recommend arriving around 7:00 or 7:30 am. 

Suggested Map 

Freedom Trail #302

Length: 3.6 Miles

Time: 2 Hours

Difficulty: Hard 

Don’t deny yourself a Braveheart moment and take on one of the toughest hiking trails Phoenix has to offer. Freedom Trail (more like Punishment Trail, amiright?) is quite the challenge attracting experienced hikers like a moth to a flame. 

As difficult as it is, confident beginners shouldn’t feel too put off. As long as you’re prepped for no shade, rocky and slippery bits, then all should be fine. Plus, you wouldn’t want to miss this one if you love viewing colourful wildflowers and birds.

You’ll begin this hike at Piestewa Peak Park, and you can park at the Apache Picnic area at the end of the road.  

Suggested Map  

Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout

Length: 4.2 Miles

Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium

No Phoenix hiking guide is complete without the fantastic Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout. This challenging yet rewarding hike is just off the entrance of South Mountain, left from the visitor centre. 

Many people hop on this trail to see awe-inspiring mountains and cityscapes. And while the first part of this trek is pretty tough, reaching the Dobbins Lookout for those mesmerising views is worth it. 

Dogs can accompany you but should remain on a leash, and there’s no shade, so bring enough sun protection. Lastly, you’ll face some rocky parts and might even spot a rattlesnake, so be aware of where you step. 

Suggested Map
Read Next: Things to do in Phoenix 

Acer Summit Via Mormon Trail

Length: 2.4 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium 

Unleash your stress by taking on serene hiking near Phoenix, AZ. Located in South Mountain Preserve, the Acer Summit Via Mormon trail is excellent for those seeking a moderate challenge. 

You’ll start at the Mormon Trailhead to connect to the Mormon Loop. Then you’ll experience plenty of elevation gain to Acer Summit. 

Come here to witness some of the most incredible sunsets or sunrises in PHX (preferably early if you want to beat the crowds).

Suggested Map 
Top tip: just remember, there’s no shade or access to water on this hike. Fill up before you go and bring more than you think you’ll need.

Mormon Loop to National Trail Loop

Length: 4.7 Miles

Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Take this beautiful, year-round South Mountain Preserve hike for unmissable panoramas over Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Oh, and do visit in spring if you can, to spot the wildflowers in bloom. 

Although a little longer, almost anyone can conquer this trail – from newbies to avid hikers and even the four-legged ones. Some parts are rocky and steep, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

When reaching the top of the Mormon Loop trail, you can either return in the same direction or continue on the National Loop, depending on your fitness level. It’s perfect for sunset watching, mountain biking and wildlife spotting.  

Suggested Map 

Telegraph Pass Trail

Length: 2.3 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 

Difficulty: Medium

Fancy a brisk trail to get your blood pumping? Take on one of the best hikes Phoenix offers for dog walkers and joggers: the Telegraph Pass trail. Even better are the Hohokam petroglyphs and astounding south valley views along the way. 

Find the trailhead in the South Mountain Preserve at Desert Foothills Parkway (north of Chandler Boulevard) and Seventh Street. The first mile of this trek is partially paved, then continues to get rockier and steeper as you reach the end at Summit Road. 

The only downside of this trail? Unfortunately, many dog owners do not clean after their pets, so prepare for a somewhat dirty hike. 

Suggested Map 

Javelina Canyon and Ridgeline Loop Trail

Length: 3.7 Miles 

Time: 2 Hours

Difficulty: Medium

The South Mountain Preserve brims with hills, canyons and scenic hikes, and the Javelina Canyon and Ridgeline Loop trail is no exception. Expect rocky conditions and lots of ups and downs (mentally, physically and emotionally) with this adventurous trek. 

Bring enough sun protection as there is no shade, and wear comfy shoes as there are some loose rocks. You may also want to prepare for many annoying bugs, so it’s best not to rock in your thigh-sporting shorts. Enjoy bird-watching, wildlife spotting and even horseback riding or biking on this exciting loop. 

Start your journey at S 46th Street, where you’ll find the trailhead. Visit March through October for the best weather. 

Suggested Map 

Quartz Ridge Trail 

Length: 3.1 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium 

Scenic hiking trail with rock climbing, anyone? The Quartz Ridge hiking trail leads to the most captivating city views of Phoenix. You’ll find this year-round and dog-friendly trail in the Phoenix Mountain Reserve. 

Dotted with vivid flora and various wildlife, you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to bird-watch, bike, run or stroll this fun trek. 

The Quartz Ridge trail is probably the rockiest hiking trail in Phoenix, so watch your step here, but it’s pretty straightforward.  The parking situation could be better as it fills up quickly, so I urge you to arrive early to secure a spot.  

Suggested Map 
Top tip: You might want to consider getting your dog booties or even leave them at home, as some parts of this trail have jagged, sharp rocks. 

Dixie Mountain Loop Trail 

Length: 4.6 Miles

Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes 

Difficulty: Medium 

Sonoran Desert Scottsdale

The Dixie Mountain Loop trail is the only one on this list in the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve. 

This vast open desert park is ideal for mountain biking, horseback riding and running if you want your adrenaline surging. Otherwise, take on this heart-pumping hike dotted with lush plains of cacti and abundant wildlife. 

Though dog-friendly and not the hardest on this list, I recommend this hike for strong beginners with equally capable doggos. Fair warning, there’s no shade, and you might stumble across rattlesnakes hiding under some of the bushes. I suggest exploring the right side of the loop as it’s more scenic and filled with vibrant cacti, cholla and yucca. 

You can access this loop from the Desert Vista Trailhead year-round but watch out for the insane summer heat. 

Suggested Map  
Top tip: if you do come across a rattlesnake, don’t panic. Give it a wide berth and continue on your journey.

Lookout Mountain Summit Trail 

Length: 0.9 Miles

Time: 20 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium 

This moderately easy out-and-back trail starts just off 16th Street Parking Lot at Lookout Mountain Preserve. It’s a lovely workout and even gives you the chance to catch the sunset from its epic viewpoint. 

It’s rocky, so expect a bit of a scramble at some parts, and there are boulders as you reach the top. I highly recommend wearing proper shoes with an excellent grip for this one. 

Luckily, you’ll find some shade along the way, but water and sun protection is always mandatory regardless. Visit November through April for the most idyllic conditions. 

Suggested Map

North Mountain National Trail 

Length: 1.7 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium

If you’re a beginner looking for a challenge, the North Mountain National Trail is ideal. Bring lots of water as some bits are quite intense, especially if you want to push yourself by running this trail. 

This trail is open year-round and has a steep elevation but can still accommodate dogs on a leash. Located in Phoenix Mountain Preserve, you’ll start from Maricopa Trailhead within reach of the North Mountain Visitor Centre.

The trail has a hard surface with asphalt, dirt, and rocks with no shade. So wear sturdy shoes and prepare to work up a sweat. At least the sweeps over Downtown and North Phoenix await you. 

Suggested Map 

Shaw Butte Trail

Length: 2.7 Miles

Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Head out to Phoenix Mountain Preserve for the last time for my final recommendation for hiking in PHX. The Shaw Butte out-and-back trail suits confident beginners and avid hikers seeking a quick workout. 

While there’s no shade and some steep incline to warm up your legs, I promise that the views are worth it. You’ll also get to appreciate the gorgeous scenery with bird-watching, wildflowers, cacti and breathtaking panoramas. 

This trek’s trailhead is open year-round at 12898 N. Central Ave. You can visit the North Mountain Visitor Center for more info regarding this dog-friendly trail. 

Suggested Map 

Best Phoenix Hikes: Practical Tips

  • Some of the hikes I’ve mentioned are pretty difficult – always carry a water bottle and wear comfortable hiking shoes to avoid dehydration and aching feet. It’s also worth bringing a lightweight backpack to keep all your essentials with you.  
  • When hiking in Phoenix, protect yourself from rattlesnakes and predatory wildlife such as mountain lions, black bears, wolves and coyotes. Bringing bear spray can give you peace of mind when out in nature

Love this? Save and Share on Pinterest

Related Posts