A Guide to State Parks in the Phoenix Area

What kind of state park are you? Where you go for vacation says a lot about you. The state parks near Phoenix have just as much variety to them as there are different personalities. Whether you are looking for an exhilarating hike, searching for lost treasure, or learning about native animals and plants; the state parks near Phoenix have you covered.

-South Mountain Park-

With 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park is named the largest municipal park in the country. What is great about this state park is there is horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking for all ability levels. So, whether your hike is to be a great workout or a slower pace stroll, there is a trail for everyone. The main entrance is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

-Lost Dutchman State Park-

Found in the Sonoran Desert at an elevation of 2000 feet, this park is shrouded in mystery and even has its own lost treasure legend. There are hiking trails, nature trails, 70 regular campsites, picnic amenities, and special programs throughout the year to keep you entertained if searching for gold isn’t your thing. The superstition of the Mountains is based on Jacob Waltz “The Dutchman” who found a gold mine somewhere around Weaver’s Needle. No one has found the mine because all tries have failed because of foul play, death, or missing and stolen maps. The park is open 365 days a year from sunrise to 10pm for you to go searching out the “lost mine”.

-Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park-

Their mission as stated on their website is “to instil in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research and conservation opportunities associated with arid land plants.” At this park their main goal is to teach visitors about the 3,200 different desert plants within the arboretum, and the more than 230 bird and 72 terrestrial species that can be found along the 1.5 mile main trail. They have guided tours that have special themes such as “Plants of the bible”, Bird Walks, and Butterfly Walks just to name a few. During May, June, July and August the Arboretum is open daily from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., whereas from September-through-April admission is taken daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

So, which type of state park are you? Are you the adventurous type who likes to hike, or are you the treasure hunter who seeks out lost mines, or are you the more educational type who loves to learn about birds, animals, and plants? Either way there are some great state parks near Phoenix that can satisfy anyone’s personality.