Echo Canyon Trail

Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix

Here is my list of the Top 5 hikes in Phoenix. Beautiful hikes can be found all throughout Phoenix. You don’t even have to leave the city boundaries!

Within a short drive of the Greater Phoenix area, there is a terrific trail for every skill level.

On my list of the top 5 hikes in Phoenix, you’ll find everything from a simple walking route to a heart-pumping hike up a mountain.

Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix – Let’s Get Into it

Echo Canyon Summit
Echo Canyon Summit

Echo Canyon – Camelback Mountain

This short yet picturesque hike in Scottsdale is the most well-known and popular hike in the Phoenix area.

This trail is an intense and difficult anaerobic hike the entire 1.23 miles to the summit. It ascends approximately 1,280 ft, from 1,424 ft above sea level to 2,704 ft.

Bring lots of water, and if you’re not a seasoned hiker, enlist the help of a local guide or a buddy to show you the ropes. The trek will take around 2 to 3 hours round trip.

Only experienced hikers or those in the company of someone who understands what to anticipate should undertake this trip. It’s steep, with portions where you’ll have to rely on your hands and feet. On the harder/steeper sections, there are handrails. These help many hikers but also add points of congestion.

The initial part of the trek is a moderate ascent to a saddle. The next section is a hard ascent up rocks that follows a wall up a series of stairs. To aid hikers, a handrail runs along the length of this stretch.

The Echo Trail is regarded as extremely tough. This hike has the highest number of rescues and deaths per year of any hike in a major urban region in the United States.


Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix - Piestewa Peak

Summit Trail – Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak Park has a variety of trails that range from simple to brutal. Serious hikers go for the Summit Trail. It is considered the cousin to Echo Canyon on Camelback, though they have a very different “feel” to the trail and, obviously, views.

Piestewa Peak is nearly in the heart of Phoenix, and it can be viewed from almost anywhere in the city. As a result, the path to the top is quite popular, so expect large crowds of walkers, hikers, and trail runners.

You’ll be rewarded with views of Camelback, the Superstitions, the White Tanks Mountains, and the red slopes of Papago Park.

The route is well-designed, with handrails in certain places to assist with the numerous stairwells. On the way back, you should expect a sequence of knee-jarring steps down.

Parking for the trails is limited. Arrive early in the day. At the trailhead, there are restrooms and drinking fountains.

Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix - Siphon Draw to Flatiron

Siphon Draw Trail – Superstition Mountains

The Flatiron Summit via Siphon Draw is recommended for experienced hikers in good physical condition who want a challenge.

If you’re thinking about taking on this hike, keep in mind that it’s a 6.2-mile round-trip adventure with nearly 3,000-foot elevation gain, and much of it is in direct sunlight. The roundtrip usually takes 4-6 hours.

At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree vistas and a profound sense of accomplishment.

White and blue dots indicate the main trail. The path is rough in places, with gravel, and some boulder climbing is necessary.

Lost Dutchman State Park is home to the Flat Iron Summit Trail. There is a daily charge to park here. Camping in the park is a practical alternative if you want to get an early start on this adventure.

Pinnacle Peak – McDowell Mountains

This hike is one of Scottsdale’s most popular and busiest. It is filled with beautiful surroundings and relative simplicity. No list of the Top 5 hikes in Phoenix could exist without it!

A slow rise up a boulder-covered ridge studded with Sonoran Desert vegetation, marked by tiny signposts, leads to a breathtaking perspective of the surrounding region. Tom’s Thumb, Troon North Golf Club, and the Four Seasons Resort can be seen from the summit.

This is a 3.5-mile out-and-back trek with a 1,300-foot elevation gain. This path attracts a diverse range of hikers, from fully equipped trail runners to those out for a stroll in their flip flops, and even some pausing to practice yoga postures along the way. Depending on the season, you may see some rock climbers attempting to reach the summit.

This trek has almost no shade. It is best to start early in the day to avoid the heat and congestion.

A fully-staffed tourist center with washrooms and information is located at the base.

Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix - Tom's Thumb Trail in the McDowell Mountains

Tom’s Thumb Trail – McDowell Mountains

The Tom’s Thumb Trailhead is used by a wide range of people as a starting point for their adventures. Explorers enjoy the aerobic exercise that comes with climbing over 1,300 feet in just 2.4 miles (each way). They’re rewarded with panoramic city views at the summit, which give them well-deserved bragging rights for months.

This route is 4.9 miles long and has an elevation gain of around 1,374 feet.

Set out early in the morning to beat the heat. A facility with bathrooms, a big covered outdoor space, and information is located at the trailhead.


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