Explore Phoenix - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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I hiked counterclockwise so I would be on the sunny side earlier in the day. Fun desert trail around the peak with great scenery but in town too. Tough climbs. I would estimate 25% level or close to level hiking, and 75% up and downs. Not so crowded early, but extremely crowded later and going to the peak. Mostly hikers, a few runners, no bikers.

Tips to the hiker:
- hike early. The mountain gives a good shadow to hike in if you’re out there early.
- bring lots of water and snacks.
-take a friend (or at least have someone know you’re out there).
- gloves are handy for the way down as you climb down the rocks.
- hiking shoes are way better than running shoes

I consider myself to be pretty fit and an adventurous hiker... but this was a tough hike!! I loved it, but it challenged me more than almost any hike I’ve done. I saw multiple people who had turned around before the top because the terrain was rough. Lots of scaling up rocks and trying to keep balance on some loose gravel. Amazing hike, but be prepared to work! I did it in 4 hours (minus the 30 minutes I spent at the top).

It’s a tough one but well worth the journey. When the trail seems to dissipate look ahead and you’ll find it we learned the rule is to stay to the left going up when the path splits avoid the right

hiking
2 days ago

I love this trail. It’s pretty steep for the first 1.5 miles but then levels off. The views are amazing!

Amazing hike!! The view at the top makes the challenging hike up worth it. A few things to be mindful of: This is a very difficult hike! Trail markings are few and far between so be aware of your surroundings and be extra careful on your way down.

I do this trail every morning before work, its perfect for beginner hikers or trail runners with easy to follow paths and lots of fun hills. Not a lot of clear signs where trails cross, so definitely check the map before your first time out. Great city views.

I hiked this trail today and found it very challenging. I'm not in the best shape and I'm apparently very scared of heights so i was terrified most of the time. Its absolutely beautiful and i loved every second of it. Bring a ton of water and some snacks. Good hiking shoes are a must or you'll be sliding on all the loose rocks. To put this in perspective, I went up the Echo Canyon trail of Camelback yesterday and the climb to Flatiron made that seem like a leisurely stroll. Totally worth it though.

hiking
3 days ago

Nice hike, lots of wildlife, lots of dog poo right in the middle of the trail. Poorly marked at times, we definitely got ‘lost’ once. Saw a total of 8 other people. Would recommend and will be back for sure!

Fun discovery this morning!

An AMAZING hike with different views and terrain around every turn.
Going back this Friday for everything is blooming !!! Can't wait to hike this trail again.

mountain biking
3 days ago

This trail is no easy trail. It has many different 10% ascent/descent valleys and gulleys. It is definitely a moderate trail since they have refurbished this trail within the last 6 mos.

hiking
3 days ago

Did Holbert-National-Kiwanis today. I had done that trail before, but not in a few years. As many hikers know, Holbert is a little bit tough going up. Most times on Holbert, I have stopped at the lookout that is up about 1 mile. Today, I knew I had to reach End of Trail on Holbert, and then continue to National and Kiwanis. It was harder than I remembered! I actually fell off trail on Holbert while traipsing through the desert east of Dobbins Lookout and had to bushwhack up to the summit road, turn left and then hike up the road to the continuation of Holbert and then the link to National West. National is beautiful right there, sweeping within just a couple hundred feet of the radio towers that are visible from all over Phoenix. Kiwanis is essentially all downhill from right there, bringing an easy end to the difficult hike. Cactus flowers were out today! Fun stuff.

This was such an amazing experience! It was a little tougher than I had anticipated but definitely worth it! Took us 2.5 hours to get up... make sure you are using this app and gps, as some spots were hard to tell if we were on the trail. Also the white marks on the rocks helped! Get started early in the day as it gets hot when the sun comes over the mountain.

This is still one of my favorite trails. It’s beautiful with lots of places to rest along the way, including some shaded spots. Definitely one of the moderate ones that’s closer to difficult than easy, but doable for anyone who is willing to take the time. I took my three kids up ages 6 to 14 at the time. There was lots of resting, gameplaying, and snacks involved but they made it and it was awesome!

Such a beautiful hike with amazing views. I give it “two thumbs up”.

hiking
4 days ago

Easy, soft walk. It's like the neighborhood nature trail. Lots of botanical descriptions and courtesy signage. Great views. Exquisite homes surround the trailhead...

hiking
4 days ago

Family of five with three kids in elementary school had a blast on this hike. First mile is mostly up but then flattens out for second mile to Tom’s Thumb. Beautiful views and a well-maintained trail get two thumbs up ;)

Cool trail but very easy to get lost There are no markings or cairns. I’m pretty sure we did get lost but somehow found our way back to National Trail thanks to GPS after climbing over and under various rocks The hidden valley feels like another world. The trek up Mormon trail to get there was quite the climb

Great hills for a flatlander from Houston. I combined the JC and RL with an out and back section of the Mormon trail to get in a 6.5 mile run. I did get turned around a little because I’m new to using the app and the trail markings are weathered in some locations but it’s not like it’s so remote it was a problem. Great views of Phoenix at dawn. The elevation training was good, just enough climb to challenge me but not overwhelm. I don’t get many opportunities to run hills on the gulf coast so this was a welcomed change. I would definitely run the South Mt. Preserve again on future visits.

Great trails in the park! Typical desert hike- bring plenty of water. There are lots of splits in the trail, and it's easy to end up hiking further than intended, and risking running out. Carry extra for your pups, too!!

3 hours and 20 minutes round trip. Bring plenty of water as the temps are starting to climb and you’ll definitely wish you had it. The trail is easy to follow, just look for the white or blue dots, stay to the left on the way up or fall in behind a group. There’s definitely some scrambling but nothing too wild. Wear real trail runners or hiking shoes/boots as you’ll need the traction. I saw several hikers with regular running shoes that were slipping and sliding all over the place ;). This hike is definitely worth the effort, I’ll be back soon.

Very strenuous hike that can easily take alot longer with a wrong turn on the path. The path is not maintained and markers are sometimes hard to find. Take trek poles if you have them. They help alot on the way down. Alot of climbing involved on the way up, but the pay off is worth it. Beautiful view of all of Mesa/Phoenix area.

Great Hike. Well maintained trail all the way up. The steward at the top was very friendly and provide good info about the area. Took the dog with and had to keep him on the leash the whole time due to high traffic and previous reviews of snakes being more active near the trail.

This is a very challenging hike, both up and down, for anyone who normally does moderate hikes and it being a first time! Go slow! Bring lots of water, trail mix, and electrolytes even for a early AM hike. Recommend gloves as you’re scaling boulders; using your hands to climb. And, be prepared to be on your butt a few times on the way down! Yet, what an accomplishment when you reach the top and the views are spectacular! My thighs were burning after the hike and very sore the next day! It’s worth it yet, for me, once was enough!

This is a pleasant hike with great views from the top. The trail is easy to follow all the way to the top and well marked at the bottom in amongst the campgrounds where it’d be easy to get lost.

Access is very easy and the rangers give some handy advice. Arrive early to avoid the heat and the crowds - especially at the weekend!

The scrambling is much commented on, but is still well within the expected remit of an experienced hiker. Taking your time and using your core & balance there are few real ‘climbing’ moves that get in your way... unless you want them to when looking for some fun. A beginner / someone not confident on their feet on steep ground may disagree!

I extended this route back onto the Superstition Ridgeline Trail and did a ‘there and back’ to one of the further tops. It made for ~25km hike. You don’t have to go that far to escape the crowds and be well rewarded for your efforts though!

The best views anywhere in the Phoenix Valley (yes, even better than Camelback, Piestwa Peak, and the Holbert Trail to Dobbins lookout in South Mountain), but you certainly pay the price to get all the way up to 4,860 ft. to the top. A few connected thoughts:
1. Hiking shoes/boots only. This trail is far too intense and rugged for cross-trainers and/or running shoes
2. Bring a minimum of three large bottles of water. I brought two and ran out about halfway down. This was also when the weather was an unseasonably cool 78 degrees in Mid-April. If you're doing this anytime from May-October, plan on bringing at least three bottles per person.
3. Bring food! Even with such a difficult ascent, I struggled more going down because of the intricate climbing required and spotty footing. You'll definitely want to refuel before going back down.
4. The park rangers will advertise this as a 5-6 hour hike. That's mostly accurate, but experienced, prepared hikers and those in excellent shape can do it much faster. I'd consider myself a pretty experienced hiker (but only in decent shape at best) and I did it in 3:55 (1:40 up, 30 minutes to relax and refuel at the top, then 1:50 back down). I know many who have done it in less than 3:30. However, anyone going for their first time should take it a bit slower. I recommend water/rest breaks right before the "white rock climb," right after, and at least once before you get to the "wall." Probably the same going back down.
Describing the hike:
- The opening ascent is much easier compared to the back half of the climb. However, it is deceptively difficult as you reach arguably the most arduous section: the "white rock climb." You are close to going straight up without any trees or much grip for help. It is really easy to lose balance, so definitely take this slow.
- After you climb over the edge to finish the white rock climb, you'll face a fork. Go right from there.
- Other commenters are right that the white and blue dots help you stay on track, and that staying to the left is important. I've seen several hikers stay right and end up going to the false summit about 2/3 the way up thinking they've finished. The easiest way to avoid this fate is to stay in the "crevice" of the canyon on the way up. Most of the time that means staying left, but at times it means going right. Staying in the crevice and keeping flatiron peak clearly on your right is the best way to stay on track.
- Once you reach the "wall" you have three options. Climb up the face on the right or left, or go far to the left and go around the main tree. I highly recommend the latter. Those of you with much better upper body strength than me can make the climb without too much of an issue, but after roughly 2 hours of intense climbing that requires a full-body workout, going to the left is probably most desirable. From there, it's an easy 5-minute cakewalk to the best views of the Valley!
- Make sure to find markers to remind yourself the route you took on the wall when going back down. The first time I did this hike I forgot where I ascended up and ended up going way too far to the left.

*Don't be deterred, this hike is difficult but immensely rewarding!

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful hike just an hour out of Phoenix. Uphill the entire way out, but it’s a well kept, smooth, dirt trail, so not too strenuous. Some steep cross-backs. No trees, so being water if it’s warm! Hiking among the pebbles of giants.

Really good workout up Piestewa and added miles with the Freedom lop.
First time there so at first didn’t realize how many parking lots are available if you just keep on driving.

Love this trail. Way more challenging out than back.

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