5 Great Beginner Hikes in Metro Phoenix

Cave Creek Regional Park is a great place for a half-day hike.
Cave Creek Regional Park is a great place for a half-day hike.
Zaida Dedolph

According to a new survey by Mashable and Match.com, "hike" is the most commonly used word in online dating profiles in the state of Arizona. We believe it — and with so many gorgeous desert trail options in or near Phoenix, we can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to go take a hike. If you're new to the Valley, or if you're just getting started at the hiking game, here's a list of relatively easy local trails to get you started.

Piestewa Peak: Nature Trail
The Piestewa Peak summit trail can be a little daunting — especially to new hikers. It's often crowded with zealous, experienced climbers and impatient trail runners. But the view from the top isn't the only thing that Piestewa has to offer. Many of the back trails are less congested, more casual, and equally as beautiful as the peak. We like the Nature Trail; it's a nice, easy one-and-a-half-mile loop that is teeming with local flora and fauna. There aren't too many steep inclines either, so the Nature Trail is a nice option for folks who might be looking to take it easy, or those with injuries.

Cave Creek Regional Park: Go John Trail
If you're not familiar with Cave Creek Regional Park, you should be. The area, located off of 32nd Street and the Carefree Highway, is beautifully maintained and offers great scenic views of the Valley. The Go John Trail is a long-ish loop — about five miles — that can be combined with the Overton Trail for a nice six-mile hike. The inclines on this trail are gradual — long, slow upward hauls are followed by flat stretches. The trail runs along a ridge on the side of the mountain, and offers a beautiful outlook from every angle.

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