Hiking in the Phoenix area

Phoenix, Arizona has lots of popular hiking trails. Some are steep and difficult, only for those who have experience. Those tend to have lots of steep climbs and may require rock climbing equipment. Many hiking trails are moderate. Others are kid-friendly with short, easy hikes. 

Tonto National Forest and The Superstition, Mazatzal Wilderness and the Four Peaks are good places to hike. They provide many trails, but for access to parking, visitors need a pass from the forest service. These trails loop through deserts, around Boulders, through canyons and beside creeks and end up back at the parking lot or trailhead where the visitor started. Regional Parks also have their share of hiking trails many of which follow creeks and are kid-friendly.

In Tonto National Forest, Ballendine Trail is a 26 mile trail with The Boulders, the main scenic feature. It begins on the Pine Creek Loop. The Boulders are three miles from the trailhead. Go another mile and climb to the top of Boulder Flat and see amazing views of the area. Then the trail follows the Ballentine Creek but usually is dry.

In the Superstition Wilderness area, the Black Mesa Loop begins at the First Water Trailhead and goes for nine miles through Garden Valley and along the Black Mesa Flat. It includes a cholla forest, a descent to Boulder Creek and views of Weaver’s Needle. The Garden Loop begins at the First Water trailhead, as well. The LaBarge-Whiskey Springs Loop begins at Peralta trailhead. The trail is 13.5 miles roundtrip. This trail requires a guide for the hike must change trails a number of times. It takes have the way on the Bluff Springs trail and others before reaching the Whiskey Spring trail.  

Little Saddle Mountain is a seven mile hike in the Mazatazal Wilderness. It begins at the Cross F trailhead. The main draw is Pinnacle Peak views.

The Lone Pine trail, which features the burned out area of the Lone Pine fire in 1991, is in the Four Peaks Wilderness. It is a short four mile roundtrip. Hikers view Lake Roosevelt, Tonto Creek, and the Sierra Ancha’s.

The Go John/Overton loop trailhead is at Cave Creek Regional Park. This trailhead will take a hiker in either direction. Go John Trail is 4.8 miles, and Overton is a mere 2.1 miles. The Go John trail goes through a desert and several washes. A rainy day is not a good day to hike here. The farther a hiker progresses; the less people he encounters. The Overton trail leads an open mine. Houses greet the returning hiker, and soon he finds himself walking along a road.

 Phoenix has many choices of where to hike. The main thing is to choose the one that best meets the hiker’s level of expertise and sense of adventure.