Hiking & Biking

Tempe is in the heart of the metropolitan Phoenix area, which means that it’s also in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Exploring the desert, seeing cactus up close and enjoying that famous Arizona sunshine is an easy stroll, bike ride or quick drive from any Tempe hotel. Here’s a summary of some of the most popular hiking and biking trails in Tempe and Phoenix. And, as the mid-day temperatures creep into the hundreds this summer, be sure to hike early in the morning. Just don’t forget to bring a cold water bottle, put on some sunscreen and get ready for an adventure.

Tempe Town Lake
Looking for fun in the sun at Tempe Town Lake?  There are a variety of events and activities to enjoy year round at Tempe Town Lake including paddleboarding, kayaking, biking, jogging or a leisurely stroll near the water. “A” Mountain is just a few minutes away from the lake.

“A” Mountain
Not every downtown has a mountain right in the middle of all the action, but Tempe certainly does. Downtown Tempe’s “A” Mountain is a popular hiking spot from early morning through sunset. The large gold “A” on the south side of the mountain stands for Arizona State University, of course. On your journey upward, you’ll find desert plants and petroglyphs created by the ancient people in this area. From the top, you can get a great view of Tempe Town Lake, downtown, and the ASU Tempe Campus. There are a few trailheads for “A” Mountain hiking. Look for the marked paths located behind Tempe Mission Palms Hotel near Third Street and Mill Avenue; behind the Hayden Flour Mill at Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway; and on the north side of the Tempe Transportation Center on Veterans Way and College Avenue.

Papago Park
Just north of “A” Mountain and Tempe Town Lake, you’ll find Papago Park, a desert preserve that is home to hiking and biking trails and attractions such as Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, Pueblo Grande Museum and Arizona Heritage Center. Some of the most popular Papago Park trails are Hole in the Rock, located off of Galvin Parkway by the Phoenix Zoo and the Double Butte Loop, accessible via the West Park parking lot, located across the street from the zoo. Desert Botanical Garden is an excellent place to learn about the desert plants and animals that you may encounter on a local hike. Plan your trip around one of their special events, such as Electric Desert, a light and sound installation by Klip Collective, on display through May 12, 2019.

South Mountain Park and Preserve
You’ll feel like you’ve gotten away from it all, even though you’re in the heart of the city at South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S. with more than 16,000 acres. This South Mountain Park map shows you how to get to Pima Canyon, the closest trailhead to Tempe hotels, near 48th Street and Guadalupe Rd. You can choose a short, easy hike or choose a gradual climb that rewards your efforts with beautiful views of the city skyline. And, if you need more guidance or want to learn more about the desert, stop by the South Mountain Environmental Education Center for trail recommendations, interpretive exhibits and activities, and educational events.

Bike Paths and Trails
We also love our bikes in Tempe. In 2015, our city was named a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Tempe is home to more than 215 miles of bike paths and trails. Arizona State University is also a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University. You can rent a bike from The Bicycle Cellar or Tempe Boat Rentals at Tempe Town Lake to explore our city on two wheels. There are also Grid Bike stations in Tempe, Phoenix and Mesa where you can rent a bike for a short term using the Social Bicycles app. Look for the bright green bikes and visit their website for a map and more details.

You can also go on a guided hiking, rock climbing or canyoneering tour with a company like 360 Adventures. Their experts provide all of the equipment that you need. All you have to do is have fun.

Check our blog for more information about Phoenix area hiking trails including Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak.

Hiking & Biking Listings

A Mountain
“A” Mountain

With a quick jaunt to the top of “A” Mountain, also known as Hayden Butte, in Downtown Tempe, hikers are rewarded with views of the lake, ASU and rock drawings left hundreds of years ago by ancient people.


Mill Ave. and Third St.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 350-4311

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360 Adventures
360 Adventures

From half-day jaunts for one to multi-day expeditions for many, 360 Adventures creates amazing and memorable outdoor experiences. Enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and canyoneering tours in beautiful Arizona locations with our knowledgeable guides.




Phone: (480) 722-0360

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Kiwanis Park Boat Rentals
Boat Rentals of America – Kiwanis Lake

Boat Rentals of America – Kiwanis Lake offers kayaks and pedal boats for rent; no experience is required. In addition, surrey bike rentals are also available and are perfect for a leisurely ride around Kiwanis Park.


5203 S. Ash Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85283
Phone: (855) 690-0794

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Tempe Boat Rentals
Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake

At Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake, everyone can enjoy recreational boating. Select from a variety of watercraft: kayaks, pedal boats, electric boats, stand-up paddleboards and more. Guests can now rent surrey bikes too.


72 W. Rio Salado Pkwy.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (855) 690-0794

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Camelback Mountain Cholla Trail

Cholla Trail is located along the ridge of Camelback Mountain, the highest point in the Phoenix Mountain at 2,704 ft.  Hikers experience a steady 1.6 mile climb with a fairly exposed section of ridge hiking towards the top.


6131 E. Cholla Ln.
Paradise Valley, AZ, 85253
Phone: (602) 261-8318

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Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon
Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area

Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon is one the more difficult, but rewarding, hikes in Phoenix. The trail ascends rapidly over a short distance. Hikers can experience a climb over rocky trails and boulders. The  trail length is 1.23 miles one way.


5700 N. Echo Canyon Pkwy.
Phoenix, AZ, 85018
Phone: (602) 261-8318

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Tempe bike paths
City of Tempe Bicycle Paths

Tempe boasts 175 miles of bikeways, including bike lanes, desert trails and canal paths. Ride around Tempe Town Lake, down Mill Avenue or in Papago Park. The League of American Bicyclists has designated Tempe as a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community.


200 E. Fifth St.
Tempe, AZ, 85281
Phone: (480) 350-4311

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Greenbelt Bike Tours
Greenbelt Bike Tours

Greenbelt Bike Tours features electric “pedal assist” bike tours in and around the Tempe and Scottsdale area. We specialize in tours for 8-12 people. Experience parks, paths, mountains and other unique locations. Tour options run 2.5 to 4 hours.



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Papago Park Hole in the Rock
Papago Park

This desert preserve features nearly 10 miles of hiking and biking trails throughout 1,200 acres. It is also home to several attractions and museums.


1000 N. College Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 350-5200

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Piestewa Peak

Located in the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, Piestewa Peak has numerous trails for hiking and trail running. At 2,610 ft., it’s the second highest point in the Phoenix Mountains, next to Camelback Mountain. Hundreds of residents and visitors hike Piestewa Peak per week because it offers great views and a great workout. Hikes to the peak usually take anywhere from 25-60 minutes, depending on the experience of the hiker.


2701 E. Squaw Peak Dr.
Phoenix, AZ, 85016
Phone: (602) 261-8318

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