9 Best Hikes Near Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona is one of the best destinations in the United States and possibly the world to go hiking. The terrain is unique and you can’t help but want to travel here when you stumble upon some pictures. You don’t have to go far; some of the best hikes are near Phoenix, Arizona.

The best way to see a new area that you are visiting is by hiking to some of the best views around. This gives you an amazing perspective of how big the region is and where you are staying at.

The first 6 hikes on this list are within 30 minutes to 1 hour of Phoenix but a few aren’t as near. Sedona and Tuscon are only 2 hours from Pheonix and can still be made into a day trip.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Phoenix, Arizona

The best time to visit Phoenix and the surrounding areas depends on what you want to do. Weather-wise, the best time to visit is in the fall, around October. This is when the temperatures are much cooler.

If you were to go in the summer, then you could see temps get as high as 120 degrees. This is not ideal for hiking as even the easy hikes will seem hard.

Best Places to Stay in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, as well as the Phoenix area, has really grown in popularity over the last handful of years. This is also becoming a hotspot for vacations and bachelorette parties. I loved it here and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed either.

sunrise peak trail scottsdale

Are These Hikes in Phoenix Dog-Friendly?

It is a very common issue where hikers want to bring their dogs but are unaware of the rules for some of these trails. Most trails will have a sign at the beginning of it if they are allowed or not.

But even then it is sometimes difficult to know. I will briefly go over which trails in this guide are dog-friendly and which are not.

Dog-Friendly Trails:

  • Holbert trail to Dobbins Lookout
  • Tom’s Thumb
  • Sunrise Peak Trail
  • Cathedral Rock
  • Devil’s Bridge

Trails that aren’t dog-friendly:

  • Camelback Mountain
  • Wasson Peak
  • Piestewa Peak
  • Pinnacle Peak Trail

As you can see, about half are dog-friendly and half aren’t. One rule that is consistent is that all dogs must be on a leash.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear that I bring with me everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

Best Hikes Near Phoenix Arizona

As I said previously, most of these hikes are within 30 minutes to 1 hour of Phoenix (depending on traffic). These can get rather crowded during the weekends and peak seasons.

I suggest going to most of these earlier in the day and ideally during the middle of the week. This will help with the temperature as well as the crowds.

1. Tom’s Thumb

Tom’s Thumb trail was one of the first hikes I was told about when arriving in Phoenix. It is located in the Northeastern region of Phoenix in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

This hike received its name from the first person to hike here, which was Tom Kreuser. He was part of the Arizona Mountaineering club.

You will be able to spot the big boulder or “thumb” from the parking lot and many other parts of Scottsdale.

Hiking Details for Tom’s Thumb Trail:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2.5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and the time of the year.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,236 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
tom's thumb hike scottsdale, hikes near phoenix

2. Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout

Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout is an iconic place to visit during your stay in Phoenix. One of my top suggestions when arriving in any new place is to find the best viewpoint in town (ideally for sunset).

It is possible to drive straight to this point but I highly suggest doing the hike. The hike is relatively short and easy. You will get to see a lot of cool cacti and maybe some reptiles!

Dobbins Lookout is located in the South Mountain Park and Preserve.

Hiking Details for Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well as which trail you take.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 997 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix

3. Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak is one of the most popular hikes near Phoenix and for good reason. It is short but has a steep incline. This means it doesn’t take long to get to one of the best views in the city.

This short but steep incline makes for a great workout and that’s why many people flock to this location on the weekend. We saw people going up and down it multiple times.

Piestewa Peak is located in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

Hiking Details for Piestewa Peak:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 2.1-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well as which trail you take.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,148 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
hiking piestewa peak phoenix, hikes near phoenix

4. Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is the hike that everyone tells you to go to if you’re visiting the area. This hike is only around 25 minutes from Phoenix or 15 minutes from Scottsdale.

There are two separate trails that you are able to take. This helps out a ton with the traffic here. You can’t say that you’ve visited Phoenix if you’ve never hiked Camelback Mountain!

Overall the hike is great and can be difficult for some.

Hiking Details for Camelback Mountain:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 2.5-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2.5 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well as which trail you take.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,420 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
camelback mountain scottsdale, hikes near phoenix

5. Sunrise Peak

The next couple of hikes on this list is great starter hikes near Phoenix if you want some practice before trying the other heavy hitters. Sunrise Peak is my favorite “easy” hike on this list because of the short trail and the view at the top.

This hike is located near Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Like many hikes in Arizona, on the way up you will be surrounded by multiple cacti. The most I had seen in my life up to that point.

This hike might be 4 miles but it is a very fast 4 miles as you will be focused on the amazing scenery around you.

Hiking Details for Sunrise Peak:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4.3-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2.5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and the time of the year.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,184 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
sunrise peak trail scottsdale

6. Pinnacle Peak

Pinnacle Peak was the first hike we did when we arrived in Arizona. It seemed like a good hike to get used to the weather and terrain here. And that it was.

This hike is located very close to Tom’s thumb and could be done the same day if you wanted to.

There isn’t a ton of incline throughout the hike which makes it a great beginner-friendly trail.

Hiking Details for Pinnacle Peak:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2 – 2.5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and the time of the year.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,033 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
pinnacle peak hike scottsdale, hikes near phoenix

Bonus Hikes Within 2 Hours of Phoenix

The last three hikes on this list will be two hours away from Phoenix. It is very possible to leave early from Phoenix to go do these hikes and drive back the same day.

Sedona is a great place to visit and is worth more than 1 day there but I understand if you don’t have time.

7. Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge hike is located in Sedona and is one of the most popular hikes in the entire state. I’m sure you have seen pictures on Instagram and Facebook. This is a natural bridge that makes for some epic photos.

The hike from the parking lot starts off very flat for a couple of miles and then the last mile or so is more of an incline.

This hike can get crowded but I still highly recommend visiting.

Hiking Details for Devil’s Bridge:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 5.7-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on the trail you take early on.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 2 hours and 30 minutes to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the short section of elevation gain towards the end.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 728 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
devil's bridge sedona hike

8. Cathedral Rock

Staying in Sedona we have the Cathedral Rock hike. This is considered a more challenging hike because of the extremely steep sections that may seem scary to some.

Cathedral Rock is located more towards the southern part of Sedona. It is only 0.6 miles to the viewpoint of this trail and is well worth it. Hiking boots are highly recommended for this trail.

Hiking details for Cathedral Rock:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 1.2-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on the trail you take early on.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 1 hour – 1.5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of elevation gain in a short period of time.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 741 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.

9. Wasson Peak

Wasson Peak is my favorite hike on this list for multiple reasons. It is the perfect balance between a good distance and an incline. It wasn’t too long and wasn’t too steep but just enough.

This hike is located in Tuscon, around 2 hours away. Wasson peak is located in the Saguaro National Park.

The views from the top of the mountain were epic and you really got a good view of Tuscon.

Hiking details of Wasson Peak:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 7.9-mile loop trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 4 1/2 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well as which trail you take.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1863 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
wasson peak hike

Other Activities in Phoenix

There are so many different things to do in Arizona when you visit that you won’t be able to do it all. From hiking to riding ATVs, and hot air balloons, there is something for everybody. Below are some of the best activities you can do with high-quality guides.

Final Thoughts of the Best Hikes Near Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona is a mecca for all things outdoors and hiking. But sometimes you only have time to visit Phoenix. There are many great hikes near Phoenix that some might not know about. I highly suggest every hike on this list and can’t wait to go back to do more. It is truly one of the best states in the U.S.

Thank you for reading my guide on the best hikes near Phoenix! I hope this helped you plan your next trip to this amazing place.

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