Highline Lateral Canal Path


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Highline Lateral Canal Path Facts

States: Arizona
Counties: Maricopa
Length: 10.4 miles
Trail end points: W. South Mountain Ave. and S. 6th Ave. and S. 44th St. and E. Mountain Skye Ave.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Gravel
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6463735
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Highline Lateral Canal Path Description

The Highline Lateral Canal Path runs along its namesake waterway through the Arizona cities of Phoenix and Tempe and the smaller town of Guadalupe. Open in several disconnected segments, the trail features both paved and gravel-surfaced sections, and the scenery varies from suburban homes to shopping centers to open fields with views of nearby hills.

The longest continuous portion runs between W. South Mountain Avenue and Interstate 10 in Phoenix, although a tricky crossing of E. Baseline Road is a challenge on the eastern end. The trail has been improved with a paved surface on the south side of the canal between E. Baseline Road and S. Central Avenue along this stretch, making it the most popular with local residents. Just off (and reachable from) the trail, both Francisco Highland Park and Circle K Park offer recreational amenities, picnic areas and restrooms.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Highline Lateral Canal Path is available at Francisco Highland Park (2702 E. South Mountain Avenue) and Circle K Park (1346 E. South Mountain Road) in Phoenix.

Highline Lateral Canal Path Reviews

The southern end, near the Walmart is nice, but crossing I-10 is treacherous and only for an ugly, poorly maintained trail. Turn around when the trail stops.

Good suburban alternative to rail trails with the parks. Enjoyed the geocaches. Am always amazed that people just throw trash on to public places.

If you are a geocacher, there are presently 8 caches to find along this trail; four of which I have had published. If you remain on the south side of the Highline Canal, on the better path, the access is the best.

There are decent crossings with obviously much less traffic than Baseline Rd. Coveys of Gambel quail, rabbits, lizards, etc will highlight the trip. There are some benches along the canal and two city parks(Francisco Highland park & Circle K park).

The trail has designs, sculptures, benches, etc using buckets as main features; some are quite artistic.

Get out and enjoy the bike/hike trail.


When traveling from Tempe to South Mountain Park this is a much safer alternative than riding along Baseline, which does not even have a bike lane in parts. However the Highline Canal trail does not exist between 48th st and 40th st and you are forced to take your chances on Baseline for this part. The trail itself is not always maintained with parts often being washed out and too much dog waste that is not cleaned up. It still beats being hit by car on Baseline.

Tried this trail for the first time today. Parallel parked across from the 40st entrance and started heading West with my baby in the stroller. This trail runs behind numerous neighborhoods, some very nice, and some questionable... I'll circle back to that...
The path itself is adequate, some areas were washed out with sand, dirt and rocks present, and down past 16St to Central the path is badly cracked and bumpy, which made pushing a stroller difficult.
Plenty of wildlife. Lizards, bunnies, prairie dogs, quail, one squirrel and an eagle today, and one stay dog on the other side of the canal from us.
Crossing the major roads proved difficult for me as rush hour rolled around. Speeding cars are not looking for pedestrians out there, and although the path is marked with signs, there are no lights/crossing lights.
On my way back to 40st I was tired and realized there were very few areas for me and my little one to stop and rest. And by little I mean none but in the two parks we passed by. With little shade and few sitting areas my daughter was MAD and fussy. So, not really a family trail. And circling back to the unsavory-ness, a couple of the neighborhoods are really run down and trashy, a few businesses have smoking employees on the other side of the canal (gross. I don't want to smell it) and then we stumbled across a shanty town built out of shopping carts, tarps and trash between 16St and 32St, in the shade of trees, but still on the trail. Wasn't expecting that...

I have seen signs for this canal, but never took a trip on it until this morning. I decided to take my mountain bike at the 20th street entrance and headed West. The asphalt was in great shape, except for one area that was quite bumpy, and runs along the south side of the canal.

During my ride out to 7th Avenue, I encountered several walkers & even a biker. There were stop signs to alert you to the fact that you were about to cross a street, so you could wait to cross. I enjoyed my ride to 7th Avenue and back to 20th street. My total mileage was 6.09 miles, but that included riding to the neighborhood behind the canal where I was staying.

Yes, I would recommend this ride to anyone with a bike, or even walkers and skaters.

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