Phoenix City Guide

Current Weather:
Current Weather: Cloudy
Photo by: Jerry Ferguson (CC BY 2.0)

Visiting Phoenix

Towering saguaros, 115-degree summer temperatures, Major League Baseball spring-training parks: They are all signature features of Phoenix, Arizona. A bit more under the radar, perhaps, is the well-established network of trails that crisscrosses the massive urban area.

Accordion

For visitors who come to town for the mild winter weather and desert terrain, the sheer variety of Phoenix-area trail offeringsfrom the wide, paved canal pathways, to rugged routes that scale the mountain preserves, to walkways through shady neighborhood parkscan come as a bit of a surprise. The trails are a product of the city’s diverse terrain, which dips to 1,086 feet elevation at the desert floor, and soars to 2,704 at Camelback Mountain, its highest point. Tying it all together for cyclists, runners, and walkers is the network of wide, flat concrete and asphalt paths and trails that follow the desert washes, riverbeds and canals that carry water through the Phoenix area. From the nearly 70-mile-long Arizona Canal Path, to the 6-mile Indian Bend Wash Trail and 5-mile Tempe Town Lake Trails, Phoenix and its surrounding communities offer hundreds of miles of multi-use trails.

Tempe alone is home to 175 miles of bike paths and trails, according to the city’s tourism site. In 2015, Tempe-based Arizona State University was named a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, and the downtown streets carry heavy bike traffic. Tempe Town Lake serves as the epicenter of it all, with the bustling Mill Avenue just steps away, the ASU campus within riding distance and a host of trail-connection options branching in virtually all directions.

Among the major connections is the massive Arizona Canal Path, which cuts a northwesterly route across the metro area, taking in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria. The trail, which follows the route of the Arizona Canal, passes through countless neighborhoods and offers canal-side access to an assortment of restaurants, breweries, parks and hotels. At its northwestern end, the canal path also connects up with the New River Traila paved route that begins in Glendale and passes through Peoria’s family-friendly Rio Vista Community Park, before continuing on to the northfor 16.5 miles in all.

Another perk of Phoenix-area trails: The numerous mountain preserves that dot the desert landscape. For those seeking a challenging climb and sweeping views, Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak are tempting spots right in the city. And at the southern edge of Phoenix, the South Mountain Preserve offers a birds-eye view of the shifting topography. From the summit of the craggy Mormon Trail, the mountain ridges stand out like spines of a desert lizard, offering relief from the rooftops, skyscrapers and strip malls.

Phoenix’s mild sunny days throughout much of the late fall, winter and early spring make the trail system a popular spot for recreation, as well as a convenient way to get from city to city. Local experts emphasize, though, that use of the trails is decidedly seasonal. When the late-spring and summer temperatures rise to 100 degrees and often hover at the 110-degree mark, the scenario changes dramatically. Hikers, walkers and cyclists are warned to take the heat seriously, and to carry adequate water. Even on the flat canal trails, the heat and sun can be brutal. While the urban parks often feature shady trees and lakes, much of the canal trail system is exposed to the sun.  As a reminder, signs remind users that dogs are not allowed on the trails after the temperatures reach 100 degrees. Still, on those 75-degree days in February and March, the Phoenix-area trails are hard to beat, sunny skies and sweeping views serving as a national draw for the winter-weary.

Planning your visit

weather

Weather

Springtime rules in Phoenix, with temperatures in the 75-to-80-degree range. Other good options are November, when the average high is 80 degrees, and late December with a 65- to 70-degree average. For those who prefer a warm 85 to 90, Phoenix is at its sunny best in mid-October. The most difficult season is the 100-degree-plus territory of summer, which can run from April to early October.

transport

Getting Around

Once in Phoenix, renting a car is the best option for getting around on the massive freeway system, although a growing Valley Metro light-rail system is available in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, as are bus routes. And for those who are looking for bike/ped options, a network of trails runs along Phoenix’s canals, washes and mountain preserves.

bicycle

Bike-Share Program

The Grid Bike Share program offers bike stations in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Scottsdale. For more information, visit gridbikes.com. Dockless bike-share systems are also available in the region, including LimeBike (limebike.com), Spin (spin.pm) and Ofo (ofo.com).

transport

Getting There

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a major hub and offers flights from all over the world. The nearby Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport also has options on regional airlines.

Travel Resources

Check out these helpful websites for planning your travel in Phoenix.

Self-Guided Tours

Things to see and do in Phoenix

Phoenix Zoo

455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoe, AZ, Phoenix, 85008
www.phoenixzoo.org

Located in Papago Park, the zoo dates back to 1962

Read More

Phoenix Zoo

455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoe, AZ, Phoenix, 85008
www.phoenixzoo.org
Located in Papago Park, the zoo dates back to 1962

Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.phxart.org

- The downtown Phoenix museum is the largest of its kind in the southwestern U.S.

Read More

Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.phxart.org
- The downtown Phoenix museum is the largest of its kind in the southwestern U.S.

Heard Museum

2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85004
heard.org

A downtown museum known for world-class exhibitions and Native arts

Read More

Heard Museum

2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85004
heard.org
A downtown museum known for world-class exhibitions and Native arts

Camelback Mountain

6131 E. Cholla Lane, Phoenix, , AZ, Phoenix,
www.phoenix.gov

Resembling the back of a camel, Camelback is Phoenix¿s most prominent mountain

Read More

Camelback Mountain

6131 E. Cholla Lane, Phoenix, , AZ, Phoenix,
www.phoenix.gov
Resembling the back of a camel, Camelback is Phoenix¿s most prominent mountain

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85008
www.dbg.org

Located in Phoenix¿s Papago Park, the garden showcases the best of desert plant life

Read More

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoeni, AZ, Phoenix, 85008
www.dbg.org
Located in Phoenix¿s Papago Park, the garden showcases the best of desert plant life

Sonoran Cycles

3780 West Happy Valley Road, AZ, Glendale, 85310
www.sonorancycles.com

Offers long-term rentals

Read More

Sonoran Cycles

3780 West Happy Valley Road, AZ, Glendale, 85310
www.sonorancycles.com
Offers long-term rentals

Spokes at South Mountain

3220 E. Baseline Road #116, AZ, Phoenix, 85042
spokesatsouthmountain.com

Opening in June 2017, the new shop plans to offer rentals by fall

Read More

Spokes at South Mountain

3220 E. Baseline Road #116, AZ, Phoenix, 85042
spokesatsouthmountain.com
Opening in June 2017, the new shop plans to offer rentals by fall

Arizona Outback Adventures

16447 N. 91st St. #101, AZ, Scottsdale, 85260
aoa-adventures.com

Offers rentals in road bikes, mountain bikes, and kids¿ bikes

Read More

Arizona Outback Adventures

16447 N. 91st St. #101, AZ, Scottsdale, 85260
aoa-adventures.com
Offers rentals in road bikes, mountain bikes, and kids¿ bikes

Bicycle Cellar

200 E. 5th St., AZ, Temple, 85281
www.thebicyclecellar.com

Downtown Tempe location offering a range of rental options

Read More

Bicycle Cellar

200 E. 5th St., AZ, Temple, 85281
www.thebicyclecellar.com
Downtown Tempe location offering a range of rental options

Soul Beach Cruisers

1425 E. University Drive, AZ, Temple, 85281
www.soulbeachcruisers.com

Offering rentals bikes within a quick ride from Tempe Town Lake

Read More

Soul Beach Cruisers

1425 E. University Drive, AZ, Temple, 85281
www.soulbeachcruisers.com
Offering rentals bikes within a quick ride from Tempe Town Lake

Chelsea's Kitchen

5040 North 40th Street, AZ, Phoenix, 85018
www.chelseaskitchenaz.com

With a comfort-food menu, the restaurant features open-air dining and a patio overlooking the Arizona Canal

Read More

Chelsea's Kitchen

5040 North 40th Street, AZ, Phoenix, 85018
www.chelseaskitchenaz.com

With a comfort-food menu, the restaurant features open-air dining and a patio overlooking the Arizona Canal

House of Tricks

114 E. 7th St., AZ, Temple, 85281
www.houseoftricks.com

A remodeled 1920s cottage near downtown Tempe featuring seasonal contemporary American fare

Read More

House of Tricks

114 E. 7th St., AZ, Temple, 85281
www.houseoftricks.com
A remodeled 1920s cottage near downtown Tempe featuring seasonal contemporary American fare

OHSO Brewery + Distillery

4900 East Indian School Road, AZ, Phoenix, 85018
ohsobrewery.com

A canal-side brewery and eatery that caters to cyclists and runners along the Arizona Canal Path

Read More

OHSO Brewery + Distillery

4900 East Indian School Road, AZ, Phoenix, 85018
ohsobrewery.com
A canal-side brewery and eatery that caters to cyclists and runners along the Arizona Canal Path

The Farm Kitchen, The Farm at South Mountain

6106 32nd St., AZ, Phoenix, 85042
www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com

Located at restored pecan farm, The Farm Kitchen serves up homemade sandwiches, soups and salads

Read More

The Farm Kitchen, The Farm at South Mountain

6106 32nd St., AZ, Phoenix, 85042
www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com
Located at restored pecan farm, The Farm Kitchen serves up homemade sandwiches, soups and salads

Pizzeria Bianco

623 East Adams St., AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.pizzeriabianco.com

The famed pizzeria in downtown Phoenix, known for its wood-fired fare

Read More

Pizzeria Bianco

623 East Adams St., AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.pizzeriabianco.com
The famed pizzeria in downtown Phoenix, known for its wood-fired fare

Ncounter

310 S. Mill Avenue, Suite A101, AZ, Temple, 85281
www.ncounter.com

A breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot in Tempe, located steps from the Tempe Town Lake

Read More

Ncounter

310 S. Mill Avenue, Suite A101, AZ, Temple, 85281
www.ncounter.com
A breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot in Tempe, located steps from the Tempe Town Lake

Arizona Biltmore

2400 East Missouri Avenue, AZ, Phoenix, 85016
www.arizonabiltmore.com

An Arizona classic dating back to 1929, known as the ¿jewel of the desert¿

Read More

Arizona Biltmore

2400 East Missouri Avenue, AZ, Phoenix, 85016
www.arizonabiltmore.com
An Arizona classic dating back to 1929, known as the ¿jewel of the desert¿

Found:Re Hotel

1100 N. Central Avenue, AZ, Phoenix, 85003
www.foundrehotels.com

An art-focused boutique hotel in downtown Phoenix with an industrial aesthetic

Read More

Found:Re Hotel

1100 N. Central Avenue, AZ, Phoenix, 85003
www.foundrehotels.com
An art-focused boutique hotel in downtown Phoenix with an industrial aesthetic

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 East Princess Drive, AZ, Scottsdale, 85255
www.fairmont.com

A lushly landscaped resort that features outdoor spaces and al fresco dining

Read More

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 East Princess Drive, AZ, Scottsdale, 85255
www.fairmont.com
A lushly landscaped resort that features outdoor spaces and al fresco dining

Kimpton Hotel Palomar

2 East Jefferson St., AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

Urban boutique hotel in downtown Phoenix, featuring the Lustre Rooftop Bar

Read More

Kimpton Hotel Palomar

2 East Jefferson St., AZ, Phoenix, 85004
www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

Urban boutique hotel in downtown Phoenix, featuring the Lustre Rooftop Bar

Graduate Tempe

225 East Apache Boulevard, AZ, Tempe , 85281
graduatetempe.com

A retro boutique hotel near the Arizona State University campus with a college-life theme

Read More

Graduate Tempe

225 East Apache Boulevard, AZ, Tempe , 85281
graduatetempe.com

A retro boutique hotel near the Arizona State University campus with a college-life theme

Accordion

New River Trail

Arizona - 16.5 miles

The New River Trail parallels its generally dry namesake waterway through the populous Phoenix suburbs of Peoria and Glendale. The entire route is...

Indian Bend Wash Path

Arizona - 6.2 miles

The Indian Bend Wash Path follows the banks of Indian Bend Wash between Scottsdale and Tempe. Along the way, the paved path connects a number of...

Arizona Canal Path

Arizona - 69.7 miles

The Arizona Canal Path is one of the longest multi-use trails in Maricopa County, running between Peoria, Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale and the Salt...

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

OR