Hitting the Trails

The best way to locally enjoy Arizona’s autumn, winter, and spring lays on and between our mountains.

Emily Christian, Columnist

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Setting aside the infamous summer heat, Arizona is a beautiful place. With the cooler seasons now upon us, enjoying that beauty is easier than ever. Combining hiking and biking with scenic trails in the Phoenix Valley makes for a memorable outing with friends and family, and provides the body with exercise to burn off the holiday meals. Whether you’re a beginner hiker looking for a trail to start out on or an experienced biker looking for something adventurous, there will always be fun trails available to you.

When starting off easy, many South Mountain trails are appropriate. One of these trails is Judith Tunnell Accessible Pass. This is a one-mile loop and is lined with benches for resting. A second trail starts from the North Mountain visitor center and can range from easy to moderate, being 2.5 miles mixed in length and accessible to hikers, joggers, and bikers, so when hiking, keep a lookout. If looking for a trail that’s not on a mountain, most canals in the Phoenix area also have trails alongside them, making for a good run while staying close to home.

Many trails in the Phoenix valley have wonderful scenery and are still easy to get to. The Papago Mountains, located near the Phoenix Zoo, are slightly hilarious to look at from afar. Because of their odd shape, my sister and I used to call them the “Potato Mountains”.  The Hole-in-the-Rock trail is a terrific 2.3 mile hike that delivers a new and unique view at this mountain. And though these wonders are natural, some of Phoenix valley’s most awe-inspiring spectacles are made by man: ancient man, actually. Petroglyphs can be found all around the Phoenix valley, including South Mountain and the Superstition Mountains.

Biking in Phoenix is a popular pastime during the cooler seasons, and some even dare to bike during the heat of summer. Most roads have connected bike lanes, and public transportation supports biking by holding bike racks. What’s more, scenic routes along mountains are bike-friendly and also make for a wonderful adventure. But always be aware of other bikers around you, for it’s a much more difficult activity than hiking when in a crowded area.

Although the nice weather may be a perfect time to hit the trails, always remember to bring water and common sense when hiking or biking, and take breaks when necessary. Remember: some of these trails may be simple, but they are far more than a walk in the park!

For more information about local trails and safety precautions, check out VisitPhoenix.com, where much of the information used in this article was found, along with many more unique hikes.

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