Hiking Guide

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I purchased a set of watercolors last week with the idea I’d put together a set of hiking maps for a new friend who recently moved to Phoenix. She and her family are the outdoorsy type and I knew they’d appreciate a series of trail maps. This also gave me a chance to share the details I’ve learned from countless years of hiking in Arizona. There is something incredibly magical about the array of mountains circling our city. They are so incredibly different.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

The Papago Mountains are Sedona-red and look like they were plopped down like drop cookies by God. One has a giant hole through it that you can hike to. They overlook the Desert Botanical Gardens and the Phoenix Zoo.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

The Superstition Mountains in the far East Valley have a distict line of different colored rock striping the range. They have many winding, beautiful trails that will take your breath away by the desert’s awe.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Piestewa Peak — also known as Squaw Peak — sits in North Phoenix and is one of the tallest mountains in the Valley. It is silvery purple and ragged. The summit hike is one of the hardest and most fun I’ve done.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

South Mountain runs from Tempe to Laveen and father west. The range separates Phoenix from the suburb of Awhuatukee. There are hiking, climbing and biking trails on both sides of the mountain and there are stables for those looking for a hooved adventure too. While the hike to the communication towers is a grueling run or ride, these mountains are more hill-like and less mountainous than the others in Phoenix.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Finally, a hiking guide of Phoenix would be silly not to include the gem of the crown — Camelback Mountain. Her sienna soil juts from the center of Phoenix, providing a barrier between Arcadia to the south and Paradise Valley to the north. The mountain truly looks like a kneeling camel. Her ribs and head are dotted with mansions these days, but they are few. Her stature is impressive and hiking this 1.2 mile summit in August is about as tough of a workout as I can muster. Several times, actually, I didn’t think I was going to get back to my car. It is a quick, hard climb up and a sweaty, shaking hike down. There is nothing like it.

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Phoenix Hiking Guide

Stapled and delivered. It does resemble a bit of a 10-year-old’s art project, but it has a purpose and I really enjoyed working with water colors.

~K