We Arizonans are pretty damn fortunate to live in the midst of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. This August, take advantage of all the great things the outdoors have to offer. Here are five ways to get out (and maybe get a little sweaty) in metro Phoenix this month.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park Full Moon Hike
Hiking in full sunlight might sound like the worst thing ever, but hiking by full moon is almost always a good idea. And what better place to do so than at McDowell Mountain Regional Park? Enjoy the beautiful views from the North Trail on a ranger-guided tour of the park from 7 to 9 p.m. on August 29. This beginner-friendly hike is three miles long, so be prepared to wander around in the dark for about two hours. The Full Moon Hike fills up quickly. To reserve a spot on the tour, call or email Ranger Amy Roberts at 480-471-0173 or at [email protected] While there's no charge to participate, there is a $6 park entry fee per car.
Running for Brews Tempe's Group Run
Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., Running for Brews Tempe does something we can all get behind: They run a little bit, so that they can drink a lot. The group bills itself as a “Social Running Club” — all skill levels are welcome, and the club is not competitive. Here’s the deal: You meet up with the group, run a 5K route at whatever pace you feel comfortable, then go out for drinks at Blasted Barley Beer Company afterwards. Beyond the obvious incentives of “personal fitness” and “beer,” Running for Brews offers some extra bonuses. Each week there’s a raffle and a theme. Find more details about the (free!) weekly event on Running for Brews Tempe’s Facebook page, and be sure to fill out a waiver on their website.
In Search of Scorpions! at Cave Creek Regional Park
Scorpions are fun, right? Right?! If you agree, grab the creepy, crawly, stinging, predatory bug lover in your life and head out to this event from 7 to 9 p.m. on August 21. The search party, sponsored by the Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department, is sure to give you the willies in the best way. Aspiring Scorpion-seekers are advised to wear good hiking shoes and to bring plenty of water and a flashlight (blacklights are also permitted). Pets are not allowed on this walk. Ranger Mark Paulet can answer any other questions you might have about the Scorpion Hunt — he can be contacted at [email protected] Park entry is $6 per vehicle.
Silent Sunday at South Mountain Park
Silence is golden, and for many urban cyclists, difficult to find. But! On the fourth Sunday of every month South Mountain Park closes off every one of its main roadways to motor vehicles for the entire day. This means that cyclists, skaters, wheelchair users, and everyone in between can utilize these routes free of street noise and traffic. We’ll gladly make use of some of that outdoors peace and quiet from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on August 23.
Salt River Tubing: Madcap Mardi Gras Magic
Mardi Gras may have come and gone (like, months ago), but you can still enjoy all the magic. Laissez les bon temps rouler right on down the Salt River from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m on August 22. Visitors will get free mardi gras beads, and the wearer of the day’s best themed costume will win free tubing passes and tee-shirts (these will come in handy, as the theme of Mardi Gras is usually “topless.”) Tube rentals cost $17 per person, and the last trip down the river starts at 2 pm. Be sure to bring sunscreen, but leave your glass bottles and children under 8 at home. For more information, visit Salt River Tubing online.