60 Hikes within 60 Miles-Phoenix - 3rd Edition  by Charles Liu

60 Hikes within 60 Miles-Phoenix - 3rd Edition Guide Book

by Charles Liu (Menasha Ridge Press)
60 Hikes within 60 Miles-Phoenix - 3rd Edition  by Charles Liu
Whether you’re a local looking for new places to explore or a visitor to the area, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Phoenix provides plenty of options for a couple hours or a full day of adventure, all within about an hour from Phoenix and the surrounding communities.

© 2018 Charles Liu/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "60 Hikes within 60 Miles-Phoenix - 3rd Edition" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 60.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 60.

Searching for new hiking destinations within the City of Phoenix? Look no further than Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. This enjoyable loop connects six trails in the preserve’s northern section and visits two superb vista points overlooking the surrounding desert plains. Begin your hike behind the well-appointed Apache Wash Trailhead building area. Look for trail signage and follow Sidewinder Trail straight, heading northeast. This trail starts on level terrain amid grassy fields, triangle-leaf bursage, creosote, and teddy bear cholla; mountain bikers love to ride these multiuse trails.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.6
Barnhardt Trail takes you on a tour into the heart of the Mazatzal Wilderness, offering thrilling views into deep gorges, up rugged mountains, and across picturesque hills. Rocky cliffs and spectacular waterfalls accentuate an already dramatic landscape. Many trails crisscross these rugged mountains, but perhaps none offers a better overall hiking experience than Barnhardt Trail 43. In spite of this trail being the most popular trail into the Mazatzal Wilderness, many Phoenix hikers have yet to discover its charm.
Payson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6-14
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Easily accessible and highly enjoyable, this extensive loop encircles McDowell Peak, one of three prominent peaks within McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Along the way, take in sweeping city views, rugged yet tranquil desert and mountain scenery, and perhaps even some wildlife sightings. You’ll get a decent workout, too. Browse the interpretive signs detailing the Sonoran Desert flora as you pass the amphitheater. A quarter mile from the trailhead, zigzag through a rocky dry wash lined with palo verde and mesquite trees. Soon you’ll reach a well-signed trail junction with the Gateway Loop and Saguaro Loop Trails at 0.4 mile from the trailhead.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.5
A moderate but lengthy loop, this combination of three popular trails takes visitors through the stunning foothills of the Superstition Wilderness. Notable sights include Weaver’s Needle, Black Mesa, the Goldfield Mountains, and a variety of desert flora and unique rock formations. This loop hike takes visitors through these beautiful yet mysterious foothills, offering glimpses of the major landmarks associated with the Lost Dutchman’s legend and mentioned on supposed treasure maps. Stumbling upon lost treasure is unlikely, but this hike will certainly delight your senses. Begin your hike from the popular First Water Trailhead, at the northern terminus of Dutchman’s Trail.
Apache Junction, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.1
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Hikers in North Phoenix have a number of nearby options for regular exercise. Black Mountain ranks first on that list for the quick workout and the splendid view from its summit. Looming over the northern outposts of Cave Creek and Carefree like a dark fortress, Black Mountain is as forbidding as it is inviting. To unfamiliar hikers, Black Mountain presents some challenges in terms of finding a suitable trailhead, adequate parking, and acceptable access to the summit. However, once you overcome those challenges, the short but challenging hike up Black Mountain rivals the best short hikes in Phoenix.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
This super route through the Superstition Wilderness packs plenty of scenery into a 10-mile hike. If close-up views of Canyon Lake, Battleship Mountain, Weaver’s Needle, and the Superstition Ridgeline aren’t enough to motivate you, then tranquil pools and an enticing swimming hole in LaBarge Canyon ought to do the trick. An optional thrilling scramble up Battleship Mountain can also delight hardy adventurers. Offering stunning hills, rocky streams, panoramic views, and even an abandoned mine, this trail has something for everyone. Easy access from Canyon Lake Marina also makes this trail one of the most popular hikes around.
Apache Junction, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.5
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In the shadow of Picketpost Mountain, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park showcases a unique collection of native desert flora as well as arid landscape plants from around the world. The park’s trail system routes visitors through impressive botanical displays in a scenic natural setting. Blandly named and 1.5 miles in length, the Main Trail connects Boyce Thompson Arboretum’s major features while many side paths and loops compete for your attention. A typical traversal of the Main Trail ends up being somewhere between 2 and 3 miles in length with all the inviting detours.
Superior, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5-3
Brown's Mountain lies within the relatively new and relatively flat northern section of McDowell Sonoran Preserve. A mild loop takes hikers around Brown’s Mountain, with a spur trail to its summit for a bird’s-eye view. The Brown’s Ranch Trailhead opened in 2013, providing access into historic Brown’s Ranch, an area that was established by E. O. Brown and partners for cattle grazing more than 100 years ago. Begin this loop from behind the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead’s building area. The trail follows Brown’s Ranch Road, a wide, packed-dirt thoroughfare, toward the north. Brown’s Mountain, a cone-shaped hill with a flat summit, lies ahead in the distance.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.1
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Butcher Jones Trail runs along a section of Saguaro Lake’s northern shore, offering overlooks of the lake and surrounding mountains. Burro Cove, this hike’s destination, commands an impressive view of Four Peaks across the lake. Easy and well marked, Butcher Jones Trail makes an excellent hike for beginners. Many spurs branch out to provide waterfront access for fishing, camping, or swimming. With impressive overlooks of the lake and reflections of distant mountains, views along this trail are nothing short of stunning.
Fort McDowell, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
The summit of Camelback Mountain is the highest point in the City of Phoenix. The 2,704-foot summit affords hikers an impressive panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountain ranges. Cholla Trail offers hikers an easier, albeit longer, way to reach the top of Camelback Mountain than does the popular Echo Canyon Trail. Fans of cityscape can appreciate Cholla Trail for its open views along the way. Note: No parking along Cholla Lane—park along Invergordon Road instead; no dogs allowed.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
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Perhaps the best in-town hike in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is centrally located, offers a rigorous climb of 1,264 feet to its summit, and features rugged sandstone cliffs, a panoramic view from the top, and the chance to see a perfect sunset. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, this hike is a must-do. Every year, many ill-prepared hikers experience dehydration and heat exhaustion and must be rescued from Camelback. Do not underestimate the difficulty or potential perils of this trail. During summer, when the temperature soars above 100ºF, consider splashing water on your clothing before starting the hike to keep cool. No dogs allowed.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
Cave Creek Trail provides a pleasantly shaded and mild hike along the banks of the perennial Cave Creek. Enjoy the classic riparian flora and the trickling water. Then hike the hilly Skunk Tank Trail for a good workout as you loop back to the trailhead. Access Cave Creek Trail 4 from a parking lot just past the campground, 0.6 mile inside the entrance to Seven Springs Recreation Area. A large trailhead plaque maps out trails in the area. Begin by following the trail south behind the campground. You’ll immediately notice that this hike differs from other desert hikes.
Cave Creek, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.4
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Within the depths of the Superstition Wilderness, an ancient people built a large ring of stone atop a hill. Circlestone is as remote as it is mysterious. Visitors can ponder its origins in complete solitude while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. As its name suggests, Circlestone is a nearly circular ring of primitive walls made of stone. It lay undisturbed in the middle of nowhere for centuries, and its origin and purpose remain a mystery; for these reasons, some have drawn obvious parallels between Circlestone and Stonehenge. Circlestone’s walls consist of large rocks of varying sizes, carefully stacked to 5 feet high in places.
Superstition Mountain, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.7
A scenic loop takes hikers around Dixie Mountain, and a detour along Dixie Summit Trail affords a bird’s-eye view from the top. North Phoenix residents have ample opportunities to explore trails within Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, the newest addition to the City of Phoenix’s nature preserve system. From the marked Desert Vista Trailhead, hike north along Hawk’s Nest Trail, a wide, packed-dirt path. Cross a dry wash about 500 feet into your hike as the trail begins to leave the housing development behind. The desert holds many surprises for the observant hiker.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
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The relatively new Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is the scene of a beautiful hike through undisturbed desert in the shadow of Elephant Mountain. Hiking this trail might make you think you’re the first to discover the scenery—and that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. One of the newer additions to Maricopa County’s park system, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area clearly shows its raw charm. Upon arrival, you immediately get the sense that this hike is going to be a rugged adventure. Crossing the park boundary on foot, using a self-pay drop box, and seeing portable toilets and a portable office all add to that perception.
Cave Creek, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 9
With spectacular cliffs framing a narrow slot canyon, Fish Creek is home to some of the most eye-popping scenery in the Superstitions. The catch: tough scrambling along a tricky creekbed with no trails or route markers. Note: Fish Creek flows through a narrow slot canyon, which means there’s no place to escape to should you get caught in a flash flood—do not attempt this hike during or after heavy storms. Hiking during monsoon season is also risky because of the likelihood of sudden downpours that can trigger flash floods. This is not a good hike for dogs due to scrambling.
Apache Junction, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
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Ford Canyon and Mesquite Canyon Trails showcase the best features of White Tank Mountain Regional Park west of Phoenix. This 10-mile loop takes you through beautiful rocky canyons, sandy washes, and grassy hillsides. The official trailhead is at the Trailhead Staging Area, but our hike starts from the trailhead opposite Picnic Area 9 to save a long, flat approach. Follow a short access path as it crosses a dry creek north of the road and connects to Ford Canyon Trail. Turn west here and hike toward the mountains. Enjoy the unspoiled desert beauty, graced by tall saguaros, prickly chollas, and hardy creosote bushes.
Surprise, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.3
Brown's Peak, the tallest of the Four Peaks, is the highest point in Maricopa County. Hike through its oaks and pines in summer for a cool escape from the desert heat. The thrilling scramble to the summit is an exhilarating adventure. To reach the summit of Brown’s Peak, hike forested, tranquil Brown’s Trail from the Lone Pine Trailhead to Brown’s Saddle; then scramble up a gulley of scree and boulders for a stunning panoramic view. The first adventure of the day, however, is getting to the Lone Pine Trailhead, hidden deep within the Mazatzal mountain range. Dogs are permitted on leash, but this hike is not recommended for them due to the scrambling.
Tonto Basin, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
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Go John Trail is one of the best moderate loop trails you can hope for. Scenic hills surround Cave Creek Regional Park, and the undulating hike has just enough ups and downs to keep you on your toes. Go John Trail offers an excellent loop hike through landscape typical of the mountains near Cave Creek. This trail touches hills, plains, dry washes, and unique rock formations, and, of course, showcases plenty of desert flora. Be prepared, though, to share the trail with other hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.
Cave Creek, AZ - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.8
Goat Camp Trail is the most challenging hike in White Tank Mountain Regional Park, taking hikers on a long ascent through a canyon to the base of the antenna-studded Barry Goldwater Peak. Return on Willow Canyon Trail for another scenic tour. Begin the hike from the Goat Camp Trailhead, on Black Canyon Drive just inside the park’s entrance. Head west toward the hills on Goat Camp Trail, which starts out fairly flat across the desert floor but eventually becomes the most challenging trail in the park.
Waddell, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.5
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