Valley of the Sun Hiking

Hidden ValleyCamelback Mountain is iconic throughout the Phoenix area, and is perhaps the most popular of in-town hiking locations. Extreme heat, no shade, and no water make this hike extremely difficult during the summer months. The summit offers view of the Phoenix metro area. Overall rating is 4.5 stars.

Pinnacle Peak Trail is a 3.5 mile trail located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The trail is used for hiking, jogging, horseback riding and climbing access. Fantastic views of the Valley of the Sun are the hiker’s reward. Open dawn to dusk. Overall rating is 4 stars.

Cholla Trail is a 3 mile out and back trail located near Paradise Valley, Arizona that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Overall rating is 4.5 stars.

The Mohave Trail. From the south end of the trail, you will follow a path that scales a craggy saddle, then drops to the Mohave ramada. The trail first heads east, paralleling Lincoln Drive, then turns north to face the mountains. The gravel track under foot and paw is fairly even at the outset, but this multi-use path gets loose and rocky in places, so be sure to wear proper footgear and have your dog’s booties handy. Overall rating is 4 stars.

The Squaw Peak Highway Trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve northwest to Scottsdale provides a unique mix of industrial and scenic. The trail begins along N. 32 Street at Mountain View Road, paralleling Piestewa Freeway/State Route 51 for a short way. The trail leads up and over the mostly barren hillside to end at where Dreamy Draw Drive and SR 51 intersect. There is not much shade but you find shelters at the trailhead parking on Dreamy Draw Drive. The preserve includes a system of mountain bike trails but use caution in areas of loose rocks and 6+ inch drop-offs. Overall rating is 3.5 starts.

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20121221echo-canyon-trailhead-closed-project.html

One of the most popular hiking trails in the valley is the Echo Canyon trail at Camelback Mountain. The Echo Canyon Recreation Area is made up of layered sandstone and comprises the "head" of Camelback Mountain. Prepare to catch of glimpse at some of the smaller animals of the Sonoran Desert, including cottontail rabbits, snakes, lizards, Harris antelope squirrels as well as a variety of birds. Rattlesnakes are also common on the trail. Native desert flora include saguaro, barrel, hedgehog, pincushion, jumping cholla, christmas, staghorn, cholla and prickly pear cacti. Overall rating is 4 stars.

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