Explore the most popular views 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.

hiking
1 day 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.

awesome trail!

walking
7 days ago

This is one of my absolute favorite spots to go in the early morning as the sun is coming up. The view of the sunrise is gorgeous, and it’s the perfect trail to walk with my dog since it isn’t heavily trafficked. You need to be alert for bikers whipping around corners from either direction, but otherwise, it’s a great spot!

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.

It was nice at the beginning. Getting steep at around 1.5 mile after flat took few break as it getting steep but windy helps too. No shade nice view. Could not finish the trail because the steep really get to me also hot weather. End up 5.2 miles only cuz I went wrong trail once

mountain biking
12 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.

mountain biking
12 days 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.

1 month ago

Nice flat walk through the desert

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

trail running
1 month ago

Well marked and easy. nice views and lots of trail options to improvise. lots of mtn bikers

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!!

Nice short hike with good views of Ahwatukee. Much more interesting than the nearby Warpaint Loop.

Mostly flat, easy to follow trail. Good for beginners or to stretch your legs, but not that interesting.

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