Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

This was a great Sunday morning trail! Not too hard but it provided a good workout. The view at Dobbins lookout is beautiful and has a different perspective of the city. I would rate this as moderate and would recommend doing it as early as possible as there is really no shade except at the lookout point.

I think this should be rated a moderate. It’s not very difficult but a good workout. Hiked in the morning & it’s shaded about 2/3 of the way since the trail is on the west side. Beautiful views of the city & the desert.

This is my favorite trl in the Valley to take friends and guests too. Not too difficult. Cool sights at the top. Not too long. I am a fan.

It’s easy to get turned around once you are at the top. I’d suggest taking the alltrl app to make sure you don’t end up on the National trl.

11 days ago

Careful when you leave your car, mine was broken into and stuff was stolen!

Enjoyed this hike. It was a brief 2 hour hike that was also a bit of a challenge. Recommend starting as early as possible in the morning during the summer months. I started at 6am and wish I had started closer to 5:30 in order to take advantage of the shade provided by another nearby peak.

This trail is not as difficult as you might think, and has an amazing view at the top. The truly unfortunate part is how much litter and dog waste can be found on the trail. It doesn’t take much to not throw your trash on the ground, just put it your pocket or backpack. We all share these trails. If the concept of “pack it in, pack it out” is more than you can handle, do us a favor and stay home the next time you think of going for a hike.

Great and challenging trail that has a bit of scrambling and varied terrain. The first mile definitely gets your heart pumping and legs burning. Once you make the summit, it smooths out and gives you a break. I don't recommend doing it in 101F heat in the middle of the afternoon but that was my only window to hike. Very few shady areas.....VERY few. Sunscreen, hat and water are necessities. I went through 100oz of water and ran out with about 1/2 mile to go. I'm a 53yo Male who is a bit out of shape and needs to drop 20lbs and would do it again in a heartbeat. Do not underestimate the exposure to the sun.....it was brutal towards the end. I logged 4.9 miles in 2.5 hours. Had it been cooler, could have shaved 30-45 minutes off of that. Trekking poles helped on way down but could have done without them. Primarily took them in case of snakes but didn't see any.

I really enjoyed this quick hike, there were a lot of friendly people on the trail. Bring your kids, dogs, and parents they will all enjoy.

Hidden valley at the end makes the whole thing worth it

beautiful hike in am. A little bit more challenging then reported, but so worth it.

hiking
26 days ago

This was the first trail I hiked in South Mountain Preserve and it is challenging. The hike has many different looks and layouts. The day I went in early March the trail was desolate surprising for a Saturday.

Initially you go through a flat area over creek beds and around plant life looking up the side of the mountain. Then once you hit the brief road surface the upward climb begins. The trail though rated hard is definitely not technical in any aspect - at least not to a 40 something dad-bod climbing in Brooks. It does get steep in spots and doesn't really relent until just after the Dobbins Lookout cut off. Plenty of opportunity to look out over the northern part of the Valley of the Sun to see what is out there. From Dobbins it's flatter and more open with a good trail to go on.

My only draw back is the trail crosses the road twice - once on somewhat of a blind curve. However, there are plenty of places this trail can get you on South Mountain. Still one of my favorite hikes in the Valley and I recommend it for running as well, if that's your thing, as it is lightly trafficked most of the time.

Good desert hike, a bit more challenging than ‘easy’ if you’re a new hiker. You’re rewarded with nice views and a good workout (for the casual hiker). We saw many trail runners and MTBs on this one. Mostly hikers though. Note that signage is minimal-bring a map or gps. More than once we had to check our route against various unmarked side trails and lightly marked converging trails. Bring water.

I definitely wouldn't rate this as "hard." I would go more along the lines of "easy" to "moderate." There is nothing wrong with the trail, it's just an average trail. The final destination being driveable kind of ruins it since it adds a lot more people at the top.

This is a great hike for a workout, but the scenery isn't too impressive. The views of the surrounding scenery was very impressive and worth the trip alone.

mountain biking
1 month 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.

mountain biking
1 month ago

This is tough trail riding up, but down is easy, just have to stay slow due to others on trail. Best to ride up and stay legt to make do loop.

This is one of my favorite to mtn bike. Hiking it is too easy unless you are taking slower hiker(s) out to overlook the city.

Amazing views, a little difficult in places where there was a steep incline. Saw a few coyotes as well but they did not bother me. In total took me about 2 hours with breaks.

This was a really nice trail for a beginner like me, amazing view of Tempe and if you wake up early enough you can watch the sun rise

great view of the city plus lots of rocks for the kids to climb.

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.

my second hike using alltrails, has a little learning curve. good overall description. Nice walk. the climb was a challenge.

A good workout but not the most picturesque area. Other hikes in the Phoenix area are much more scenic. Also, trails are not well marked. We were on a different trail (Bursera) until we asked if we were on Pyramid Trail. If you live in the neighborhood, I guess it’s convenient. I would rather do Mormon Trail to Hidden Valley in South Mountain or head to McDowell Sonoran Preserve or Superstitions.

Great workout but I spent the whole time swatting away or running from swarms of monster flies the size of cotton balls. I couldn’t really enjoy my hike. :( Lots of dog poop on the trail too. Please clean up after your pets, people.

Hiked out and back on the Bajada to the Alta to the peak. Nice trail with big climb, but path is good, and the view from the top is beautiful. The Alta is uphill for the first 2.5 miles, lots of switchbacks, and beautiful views. Didn’t see any other hikers. Almost the entire hike was in the morning sun. 85-93 degrees in late April.

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.

hiking
1 month 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!

mountain biking
1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

Did this one at night and it was beautiful. Don’t miss the hieroglyphics

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