flatiron siphon draw superstition mountains hiking trail phoenix arizona

The best hikes in Phoenix, Arizona, during your trip

For seven months of the year, Phoenix is a dream destination for so many people. Its remarkable fall, winter, and spring weather draws millions to the valley for various reasons. One of those is hiking. Throughout the area, there are a plethora of best hikes in Phoenix, Arizona, for those hoping to enjoy the beautiful views.

I grew up in Phoenix and lived there for 27 years. It’s a beautiful place and one that grows on you when you know where to go to explore the great outdoors.

Before diving in, it’s imperative to note that drinking water is a must even though temperatures might be down from the summer highs. So carry plenty of water on your hikes, have a hat, and wear sunblock.

Don’t Miss These Best Hikes in Phoenix, Arizona

Camelback Mountain

One of the most popular hikes in the Phoenix area. A short yet steep and arduous hike awaits those who trek up Camelback Mountain. There are two ways up – Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon. The Cholla trail requires you to park on the road, while Echo Canyon has a big parking lot.

This also gets crowded, so expect a full parking lot by 9 am. Do NOT do this in the middle of the summer if you’re visiting. 

Piestewa Peak

Looking out from Piestewa Peak during sunrise in Phoenix, AZ.
hikes in phoenix

Another short yet challenging hike in central Phoenix. Piestewa Peak is full of steps and rocks, yet that won’t dissuade many locals from speeding up the 1.25-mile trail. This is one of the best Phoenix hikes if you’re short on time but looking for a good workout.

Dreamy Draw

In the same area as Piestewa, Dreamy Draw is an assortment of moderate to easy running and biking trails that might be full of spring flowers if you play your cards right. Right off the SR-51 and Northern, the trails connect to multiple trailheads in the area.

Just make sure not to get lost on the trails! It’s a fan favorite for Phoenix hiking.

Best Phoenix Hikes Dreamy Draw Hiking Arizona
Best Phoenix Hikes Dreamy Draw Hiking Arizona

Shaw Butte

In northwest Central Phoenix, this three-mile trail has a moderately steep start before a more gradual hike toward the top.

You’ll have excellent views of Uptown and the valley, and it is one of the hikes in Phoenix you should attempt. 

South Mountain Preserve

An entire mountain range south of Phoenix is full of great hikes and stunning sunset views of downtown. Fat Man’s Pass (Mormon Loop), Dobbins Lookout, and Hidden Valley Trail are the best hikes.

There are plenty of options, and I suggest visiting AllTrails.com to see what Phoenix hiking trails you want.

McDowell Mountains

Nestled in northern Scottsdale, the McDowell Mountains offer a plethora of hiking and biking options if you don’t want to go all the way out to the Supes. Tom’s Thumb is one of the most popular trails, while the Gateway, Bell Pass, and Windgate Loops are fantastic 10-mile hikes for those looking to get some mileage under them.

Of course, this entire area is incredible for trail running, too.

Arizona Trail Running McDowell Mountains
hikes in phoenix mcdowell

Hiking in the Superstition Mountains


The most well-known of the Superstition Mountains hikes. This grueling hike gives you awesome views of Phoenix from the east. It’s only about 5 miles round trip, but you gain nearly 3,000 feet in elevation. Know your limits before attempting this.

I will note that this is in Lost Dutchman State Park, and you’ll have to pay an entrance fee. I think it’s $8-$10 for a day.

Flatiron Supersition Mountains Best Phoenix hikes Arizona

Fremont Saddle and Weavers Needle

Another medium-length hike around six miles round trip, the Fremont Saddle hike is a beautiful trek with amazing views of Weavers Needle once you reach the top. It’s not too challenging or lengthy, though you’ll feel the burn by the end. Again, I’d say this is one of the best hikes in Phoenix you need to do. 

Weavers Needle Fremont Saddle Photography Arizona hiking hikes near phoenix
Weavers Needle Fremont Saddle Photography Arizona hiking best phoenix hikes

Thinking of visiting Sedona? Here are my top things to do!

Lost Dutchman Trail

The Lost Dutchman Trail is a mostly flat hike through the Superstition Wilderness. Stay right at the fork and enjoy the serene views of the Arizona desert. You turn this into a longer hike by connecting it to other trails in the area.

In the spring, it’s one of the best places to be and the best hikes around Phoenix.

Black Mesa Trail Superstition hikes in phoenix

Black Mesa

Another six-mile round trip hike winds you past and through a couple of streams and next to some amazing cacti and saguaros. Eventually, you’ll land on top of Black Mesa in a forest of Cholla cacti.

You’ll also be given a great view of Weaver’s Needle from the north. Finally, you can combine this with the Lost Dutchman Trail for a 9-mile loop.

Black Mesa Trail Best Phoenix Hikes Arizona Superstition Mountains

If you want more information on hiking in the Superstition Mountains, here are my favorites! 

Battleship Mountain

It is an epic and long hike in the Superstition Mountains. This one is challenging with both elevation and distance to tackle. But the views on top are surreal, and you won’t be battling most of the crowds you’ll see on other hikes.

Peak 5057

I loved this trail, but it’s a tough one. Around 8 miles with 3,200 feet of gain will put you at the tallest point in the Superstitions.! It starts at Carney Springs Trailhead and then takes you up Carney Springs Trail.

Then, get onto the Ridgeline Trail and take that for nearly the rest of the hike. It is less traveled, so be prepared for overgrown bushes on it.

Planning your trip to Phoenix

When is the best time to visit?

Plan your trip from October through April if you want to tackle the best hikes in Phoenix. Anytime during this span, you’ll love the weather, enjoy warm sunny days, and crush miles on the trails.

The temperatures can get a little chilly during January and February, but they’re high in the 60s and low in the 40s, so it’s still pretty great!

Where to stay?

This is incredibly subjective and probably depends on what area you want to be near. I’ve lived in Glendale and Scottsdale; my parents are in central Phoenix. The further east you are, the closer you are to the Superstition Mountains.

Book a Hotel
Scottsdale Hotels
Mesa Hotels
Downtown Phoenix Hotels
Paradise Valley Hotels (Luxury Options)

Other Travel To-Do’s
Book your Flight
Book your Rental Car

Other things to do around Phoenix

Visit the Desert Botanical Garden: Explore the beauty of desert flora at the Desert Botanical Garden, which showcases thousands of species of cacti, trees, and flowers from around the world.

Explore the Musical Instrument Museum: Discover the world’s music at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), which displays over 6,800 instruments from around 200 countries. It’s an immersive experience with headphones that play the sounds of the instruments as you approach their displays.

Check Out the Phoenix Art Museum: Enjoy a day at the Phoenix Art Museum, the largest art museum in the southwestern United States, offering an impressive collection of contemporary and classic art, fashion design, and live performances.

Enjoy the Wildlife at the Phoenix Zoo: Home to more than 1,400 animals, including many endangered and threatened species, the Phoenix Zoo offers a fun and educational experience for all ages.

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Experience Phoenix from the sky with a hot air balloon ride, offering breathtaking views of the desert landscape and the city below, especially magical at sunrise or sunset.

Visit the Heard Museum: Learn about the art, history, and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas with a focus on Native American tribes. The museum’s collection includes a mix of traditional and contemporary works.

Catch a Game or Concert at Chase Field: Depending on the season, you can catch a Diamondbacks baseball game or enjoy one of the many concerts and events held at this iconic stadium.

Hiking Tips and Tricks

What to wear

Protecting your skin and wearing loose-fitting clothing is key when hiking in the Arizona desert. Even though it might not be “hot” out, you can still get burnt.

What I recommend wearing for the best hikes in Phoenix:

Drink water

Make a point of always having water on you no matter what you’re doing in Arizona. Aim to drink two to three liters on every hike. Furthermore, eat plenty of salty snacks while hiking, too.

Stay safe

If it’s warmer than you’re comfortable hiking in, don’t go. It’s better to be safe than sorry while exploring the best hikes in Phoenix. Better yet, try to hike in the morning or do a sunset hike.

Final Thoughts Best Hikes in Phoenix

Phoenix offers a variety of stunning hikes that cater to all skill levels and interests. Whether you are seeking a challenging trek through rugged terrain or a leisurely stroll amidst beautiful desert landscapes, the hiking options in this city are truly unparalleled.

From iconic hikes like Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak to other hidden gems, there is no shortage of breathtaking trails to explore in the Phoenix area. So grab your hiking boots and discover the natural beauty that awaits you on these best hikes in Phoenix.

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside