Explore the most popular cave trails in South Mountain Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

mountain biking
8 days ago

Bursera is a cool loop. Great workout on foot and mtn biking. Nice cliffs and fun to catch this loop coming down from the north trails.

Solid hike up provides a great view of the city. Overall, it seems to be more of a moderate difficulty trail. definitely some steep spots, but not too bad overall.

This is a really pretty hike that is easily accessible to people in central/south Phoenix. I come regularly just to get a nice workout in. It can be busy which is obviously not ideal.. but that’s the trade off for it’s great location. In the summer you will see tons of lizards. Chuckwallas, desert iguanas, zebra tails.. it’s flooded with them just keep your eye out. As for difficulty, it’s definitely not hard. I would rate it as moderate. All in all, great hike! The lookout unfortunately is crowded with tourists who drive up for the views. No avoiding that.

1 month ago

Nice trail, will be amazing when the saguaros bloom! The trail was longer than 15.2 miles. I hiked right at 16 out and back going almost but not all the way out.

1 month ago

Long and exhausting hike. Trail is wide and well kept. Not a ton of traffic (hikers) but since this is a dual trail there’s lots of mountain bikers, which sometimes tend to be rude. Aside from this the trail is challenging but not too technical. The views of city are spectacular, the rock formations, caves on trail are cool to see. One distinct difference between other trials in valley is the fact that there’s very little vegetation which means limited shade. Therefore bring plenty of water and sunscreen. I also recommend bug spray, there was a ton of mosquitoes which is unusual this time of year. Also, please pick up your trash, I was surprised how much garbage I saw along the trail.

Great trail, but once you get towards the point in the trail that takes you up to the lookout the path isn’t very clear. If you want to see the lookout there is a way to drive up to the top which had many tourists.

I got to this trail around 5:30pm and got to the top at 6:10 right during sunset. I will say, I've had better sunset hikes. If you are looking for a good sunset I would recommend squaw peak over this view. It is cool to see the day & night changes. You also see how polluted the valley is. The hike in itself is good and will get your heart rate going. If you are here at night, make sure to take a friend with you as the area can be sketchy. It is pretty well marked but definitely bring a headlight or flashlight so you don't lose the trail back at night. If you're a beginner, the trail might take you a while. For any avid hiker, I would say it is easy-moderate.

I loved this trailed! It was very challenging and rewarding when you make it to the top. I would recommend to those looking for a challenge. Will also contribute to a great night sleep. Lol

I enjoyed my hike immensely. Not only was I surrounded by the beauty of the desert, I was able to challenge myself physically. I scrambled, jumped, ran, and climbed with a grin. It’s an active trail with lots of bikers so it’s best to keep your wits about you. Most people I passed were polite and the bikers were appreciative when I let them pass.

2 months ago

Took this from the trailhead to Buena Vista and it ended up being a decently long hike. Saw few people, mostly mountain bikers. Not my favorite hike in the city, scenery wise.


This hike would have been amazing if it had not been for the endless broken glass and litter everywhere. I packed out about 2 grocery bags full of stuff without getting most of it at the top.

This was a quick hike and was not really “hard” so much as large rocks under foot making it a trap for my ankles.

A nice view, but a little salty about the trash! Please pick up after yourself!

2 months ago

I didn’t think it has many great views. compared to other trails in south mountain trails. It was little boring.

Great views and easy places to stop along the way to the top. I agree with other reviewers though - I wouldn't really call this HARD, mostly because of all the places to rest and lots of even-level walking mixed with uphill/rocks. But, it's longer - and towards the end (to get to the Lookout) we were ready to be done. I can't imagine enjoying it as much if it were hot (we did this mid-February). Dobbins Lookout was definitely worth it, lots of cute photo-ops with the little buildings - but yes a little frustrating to share the space with people who drove up. Overall it was amazing and definitely go to Los Dos Molinos for lunch/happy hour after...perfect afternoon!

Nice views overlooking Phoenix. Moderate difficulty with some slick spots. Overall a good way to spend a morning or evening.

Great hike, very fun, not too challenging, but enough parts to get the heart rate going, would be a challenging run. Great views, a bit tourist like at the summit, Dobbins Lookout. But, still great views up there with a nice rock structure that's great for shade and cooling off. At the beginning of the trail there are petroglyphs on the eon old rocks. Super cool, be respectful to not touch the etchings.

Constant incline and rocky obstacles

Fun! If you go with kids be sure that they follow directions, are adventurous. Views are great!
The goal: to get to the top.

Challenging right from the start but got easier when you reached the ridge.

Came to visit my daughter Jan 18-23. Her and her wife had never visited South Mountain yet so this was a treat for all of us. We hiked about half the trail and came back down. We drove up to Dobbins. It was absolutely amazing. The view was breathtaking. Would highly recommend and would do again in a heartbeat.

Fun hike that is not too crowded on the weekdays but can get congested on the weekends during peak hours. Dogs are allowed on a leash which is fun. The trail can get very narrow at times though so be prepared to be in close quarters with other dogs. There is also a lot of broken glass south of the trail about a quarter of a mile in so be careful if you go exploring as well.

My limited experience with all trails in south mountain there are many mountain bikers. All have been friendly and courteous. Recommend leaving the headphones behind in order to hear bikers on trails.

amazing, clear path easy to follow.

amazing, clear path easy to follow.

easy trail, nice weather

3 months ago

amazing, clear path easy to follow.

Great hike in preparation for the National Trail Trek next weekend

Great hiking!

Cool views decent hike

Good hike, and beautiful day! January is a wonderful time of year to hike. This hike is generally difficult, but it isn’t nearly as difficult as those it’s in the same category as (FlatIron, Battleship, etc. I loved the view from Dobbins EXT, but it’s almost disappointing to get up there and realize that drivers can make it to this spot!
Oh well. Enjoy

I didn’t find the trail to be hard at all. I’d say it’s easier than Camelback or Toms Thumb similar in difficulty to Peralta trail in the Superstitions. The trail was moderately trafficked but the overlook was very crowded.

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