If you’re new to hiking and not sure where to start, that’s okay! The Arizona Valley offers plenty of great trails to begin your journey. Get your hiking shoes ready, and head out to see the amazing mountain and valley views these trails have to offer this summer. Be sure to follow the recommended safety tips from the parks, but here is a short list to get you started:
Always check the weather before you go out, and dress appropriately. Always bring sunscreen and plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Tell someone where you’re going, hike with a friend, and make sure your phone is charged. Always stay on the trail paths and keep an eye out for snakes and other wildlife. Before you begin a new hike, you should do a little research to see what you need to look out for on the trails because they can be a little different.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park — This park in the Northeast part of the Valley is home to the 1.6-mile Wagner Short Loop Trail and is located near Shea Homes®’ Storyrock communities. Moving through the desert, this flat trail offers amazing views of the McDowell Mountain Range and makes a great place for a quick photo-op. There is a $6 fee per vehicle, and there are maps with self-tour options when you enter the park. 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr, Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
South Mountain Park and Preserve — As one of the more well-known or famous parks in the Valley, South Mountain is the largest municipal park in the United States with over 16,000 acres and home to more than 50 miles of trails on the three mountain ranges. The easiest trail South Mountain offers is the Judith Tunnell Accessible Trail. The one-mile trail has no obstacles and has hard footing with little to no elevation changes. There are no fees to hike South Mountain’s trails, and the park is open from 5:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042
Papago Park — Opening at 5:00 A.M., feel free to choose from five different easy rated hikes by the Trails Rating Guide. The five trails range from 0.2-miles to 1.4-miles. The most popular trail in terms of photo-ops and lookout views is called Hole-In-The-Rock, and it is exactly what is sounds like. The large hole in the Hole-In-The-Rock Butte was made by wind erosion and offers views of the Phoenix metropolitan area. South of the Shea Homes community Shea Signature® at the Phoenician®, Papago Park’s trails are free, but you could pop over to the Phoenix Zoo also located in Papago Park before heading home. 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Lake Pleasant Regional Park — In the mood for some views other than mountain ranges? You’re in luck if you make the hour long drive up to Lake Pleasant from Phoenix for your morning hike. Home to the easy rated 1.5-mile Roadrunner Trail, Lake Pleasant offers beautiful lakeside views with multiple shorter trails leading to the beach, picnic areas, and a Discovery Center. Be on the lookout for the wildlife and keep a safe distance. There is a $7 per day fee to enter the park with a vehicle, and the park is open from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. 41835 N Castle Hot Springs Rd, Morristown, AZ 85342
The Valley and its surrounding areas aren’t lacking any trails for hikers looking for an easy trail to tackle in the Arizona summer mornings. Just remember how hot it gets and to follow all the safety precautions highlighted for the trails. It’s not fun to carry a water bottle, but you need it anyway! Don’t forget to stay on the trails no matter how much you want to chase that cute prairie dog! For more information about Shea Homes, visit our website.
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