Best Hike with a Little Dog - 2008
Piestewa Peak, south entrance
So you love your little rugrat of a dog, and you want to expand his (we'll make him a "he" here) world to the great outdoors. And even though you know he's spunky as hell, those little legs won't do well on, say, Camelback Mountain, and you're afraid that he'll sniff too close to a rattlesnake, scorpion, or other varmit on a less-traveled trail. We've got the answer, and it's called Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak, until the city of Phoenix renamed it after Iraqi war hero Lori), officially part of the Phoenix Mountains Park and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area. Though the hike to the top on the Summit Trail is rigorous — 1.2 miles, elevation gain of 1,200 feet — the 3.75-mile Circumference Trail is much more forgiving, for humans and pooches alike. Wonderful views of downtown Phoenix await the people, and unparalleled scents of other canine cavorters await your little fluffball. We've seen more than one little love affair (G-rated, thankfully) spring up on the trail. All you need is some water for you and your best friend — and a leash.