TOP 10 HIKES NEAR PHOENIX ARIZONA

The greater Phoenix area offers a wide variety of excellent hiking trails. When choosing our top 10 we drew upon our experiences in the east valley’s Superstition Mountains, Usery Mountain and San Tan Mountain, the north valley’s McDowell Mountain and the south valley’s Estrella Mountain and South Mountain. We prefer trails that blend challenge and adventure with light crowds and raw beauty. These are the trails that made us Inspired Hikers.

Distance: 6.3 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 5.5 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (3/5) Moderate

Adventure: (4/5) Excellent

Difficulty: (4/5) Difficult, requires scrambling and route finding skills especially from Flatiron to Hoodoo Summit.

Our top Phoenix trail is an inspired version of the popular Flatiron hike. Adventure just a little further than most, to the Hoodoo Summit, where you’ll be rewarded with bigger views and smaller crowds.

Distance: 4.4 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 3.5 Hours

Scenery: (3.5/5) Excellent

Crowds: (4/5) Light

Adventure: (3/5) Good

Difficulty: (3.5/5) Difficult, requires scrambling and route finding skills.

Get away from the crowds and experience the challenge and adventure of Picketpost Mountain. Number two on our list, this is our favorite hike under 4 hours. Just down the road is the wonderful family friendly Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

3. BATTLESHIP MOUNTAIN

Distance: 11 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 8 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (4/5) Light

Adventure: (4/5) Excellent

Difficulty: (4.5/5) Very Difficult, requires scrambling and route finding skills.

Our favorite all-day adventure takes you into the heart of the Superstition Mountains. We hope to inspire the adventurer within, but don’t underestimate the difficulty of hiking out onto the narrow summit of Battleship Mountain. We call it the Angel’s Landing of the Superstitions.

Distance: 8 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 7 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (4/5) Light

Adventure: (4/5) Excellent

Difficulty: (4.5/5) Very Difficult, requires scrambling and route finding skills.

Named after the height of the true Superstition Mountains summit, 5057 is an all-day adventure not to be missed. This is an inspired version of the popular Hieroglyphics Trail, taking you far beyond the petroglyphs all the way to the Ridgeline Trail and finally to the summit.

Distance: 9.5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 7 Hours

Scenery: (3.5/5) Excellent

Crowds: (3.5/5) Light

Adventure: (3.5/5) Excellent

Difficulty: (4/5) Difficult, requires route finding skills.

It doesn’t get much better than adding beautiful Canyon Lake views to the raw magnificence of a deep Superstion Mountains hike. Adventure at the right time of year and you’ll be rewarded with an emerald pond containing reflective views of Battleship Mountain and Geronimo Head.

6. PERALTA TRAIL TO FREMONT SADDLE & LOOKOUT (RETURN VIA CAVE TRAIL)

Distance: 5.5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 4 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (3.5/5) Moderate to Fremont Saddle, (4.5/5) Light on Cave Trail

Adventure: (3.5/5) Great

Difficulty: (3.5/5) Moderate, requires route finding skills via Cave Trail return.

A common theme on our best Phoenix hikes list is taking popular treks and going above and beyond. Peralta Trail to Freemont Saddle is all over the internet as one of the best Phoenix hikes, but be inspired to turn this out and back into a loop and return via the Cave Trail. You’ll get away from the crowds and experience a true adventure.

Distance: 5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 3 Hours

Scenery: (3.5/5) Great

Crowds: (2.5/5) Heavy

Adventure: (2.5/5) Normal

Difficulty: (2.5/5) Easy. Note, there is elevation gain of 1,200 ft.

Enough with our bias toward the Superstion Mountains, our number one McDowell Mountain Hike is an inspired version of Tom’s Thumb Trail. The thumb like rock feature is popular but go just a little further to the Lookout Trail for great views of Four Peaks, Superstition Mountains and Fountain Hills.

8. FOUR PEAKS: BROWNS PEAK

Distance: 4.7 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 3.5 Hours

Scenery: (3.5/5) Great

Crowds: (2.5/5) Heavy

Adventure: (3.5/5) Great

Difficulty: (3/5) Moderate to Browns Saddle (4.5/5) Very Difficult from Browns Saddle to Summit, requires steep scrambling.

At 7,657 ft., Browns Peak is the tallest point in the greater Phoenix area. This excellent hike would rank even higher on our list but rough dirt roads to the trailhead turn this 3 and half hour tramp into a full day journey. Come prepared as the steep scramble to the summit is not for the faint of heart.

9. BUTCHER JONES TRAIL

Distance: 5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 2.5 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (2/5) Heavy

Adventure: (2/5) Normal

Difficulty: (2/5) Easy

Butcher Jones Trail is a beautiful hike overlooking Saguaro Lake. Although it will likely be crowded, the scenery is well worth a visit. This family friendly hike hugs the lake before ending with spectacular views of Four Peaks.

10. PASS MOUNTAIN LOOP TRAIL

Distance: 7.5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 4 Hours

Scenery: (4/5) Excellent

Crowds: (3.5/5) Moderate

Adventure: (2/5) Normal

Difficulty: (2.5/5) Easy

Our favorite Usery Mountain hike takes you all the way around the mountain through a dense cacti forest of saguaros, teddy bear chollas and more. A wonderful lookout half way into the hike provides a great photo opportunity. Pass Mountain Trail shares a trailhead with the more crowded but in our opinion less desirable Wind Cave Trail.

HONORABLE MENTION: QUARTZ PEAK TRAIL

Distance: 5.6 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 4.5 Hours

Scenery: (3.5/5) Excellent

Crowds: (4/5) Light

Adventure: (3/5) Moderate

Difficulty: (3.5/5) Moderate

Getting to Quartz Peak Trail is an off-roading adventure itself, but the hike provides plenty of rewards. Expansive views and light crowds make this a worthy destination. The peak consists of unique giant quartz boulders overlooking South Phoenix and the rugged Arizonan wilderness.

HONORABLE MENTION: TREASURE LOOP TRAIL TO PRAYING HANDS

Distance: 3.5 Miles Round Trip

Hours: Averaging 2 Hours

Scenery: (3/5) Good

Crowds: (3/5) Moderate

Adventure: (2/5) Normal

Difficulty: (2/5) Easy

This inspired version of the Treasure Loop Trail takes you just a little further and into a praying hands like rock formation. This is our favorite hike within Lost Dutchman State Park but all of the hikes in the park are enjoyable and family friendly.

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