The Sonoran Desert is beautiful from afar, but it’s even more spectacular up close. Experience our desert landscape by hiking and biking in Tempe this spring. Grab your hiking shoes, a water bottle and sunscreen and explore the cactus-lined Sonoran Desert trails that are located throughout Tempe and the Phoenix area. Most trails are easily accessible within minutes of any hotel. Here are some of our favorite spots for hiking and biking in Tempe.
With its convenient location in the heart of Downtown Tempe, “A” Mountain hiking trails are always popular. On your journey upward, you’ll find desert plants and petroglyphs created by the Hohokam, prehistoric residents in this area. From the top, you can get a great view of Tempe Town Lake, downtown and the ASU Tempe Campus. The “A” stands for Arizona State University, of course. Learn more about “A” Mountain history at the City of Tempe website.
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 and AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park. 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 Music in the Garden, Friday evenings in February through May, or Agave on the Rocks, March 31.
Get away from it all 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. You can find a hiking map and trail descriptions for South Mountain on the City of Phoenix website.
We love our bikes in Tempe. In 2015, our city became a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award winner and we are home to 175 miles of bike paths and trails. Arizona State University was also named a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists in 2014. You can rent a bike from The Bicycle Cellar, Tempe Boat Rentals at Tempe Town Lake or Boat Rentals of America at Kiwanis Lake to explore our city on two wheels. And, in April 2017, be on the lookout for the launch of Grid Bike Share in Tempe. You’ll be able to find a network of Grid Bike stations where you can rent a bike for a short term.
You can also go on a guided hiking, rock climbing or mountain biking 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.
Also, check our blog for more information about Phoenix area hiking trails including Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak.
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 the Hohokam people.
Want to experience the REAL Arizona? Get outside with 360 Adventures! We create amazing and memorable outdoor experiences for our guests with our mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and canyoneering tours – each created especially for you. From our knowledgeable guides to our beautiful Arizona locations, your perfect adventure awaits! Whether you want a half-day jaunt for one or a multi-day expedition for many, we’ve got you covered.
Phone: (480) 722-0360
Boat Rentals of America is now open at Kiwanis Lake. Single kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats are available for rent and no experience is required. In addition, they rent bikes that are perfect for leisurely rides around Kiwanis Park.
Cholla Trail is the located along the ridge of Camelback Mountain, the highest point in the Phoenix Mountain at 2,704 ft. This trail increases in elevation over a longer distance than the Echo Canyon trail, making the assent to the top less steep. Hikers experience a steady climb with a fairly exposed section of ridge hiking towards the top. The length of this trail is 1.6 miles one way.
Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon is well-known for being 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 length of this trail is 1.23 miles one way.
The City of Tempe boasts 175 miles of bikeways, including bike lanes, desert trails and canal paths. Go for a ride around Tempe Town Lake, cruise down Mill Avenue or ride some of the trails at Papago Park. Visit the website for more information and a bike map of the city. In November 2015, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) designated Tempe as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community through 2019.
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.
Pedego Scottsdale offers the region's finest selection of Pedego Electric Bikes for sales, rentals and service. These bikes ride and feel like traditional bicycles, they simply give the rider the option to "pedal or not" by using the throttle or Pedal Assist features to propel up to 20 mph.
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.
At more than 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. The park includes 51 miles of scenic desert trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking leading to breathtaking views. Reservable picnic ramadas are also available.
Plan your next vacation with the Tempe Visitor's Guide.