8 Reasons Hiking in Phoenix Is Awesome

As the heat wave rolls on and we start to question our commitment to 120-degree weather, let's take a moment to remember the amazing things about Phoenix and the state of Arizona as a whole. We may not be Boulder, Portland, or Seattle, but we have incredible outdoor activities at our fingertips. Here are some reasons why it is so wonderful to hike in and around Phoenix.

See also: 8 Tips for Summer Hiking in Arizona 10 Favorite Hikes in the Valley

Proximity Phoenix is surrounded by (and surrounds) some of the most unique urban park systems, thus providing Phoenicians with plenty of outdoor options within a quick 20-minute drive. And with just a bit of a longer drive, there are countless more options awaiting in all directions.

Views Climbing to the top of a mountain in the middle of a Valley guarantees great views of our city -- and beyond on clearer days.

Nature The desert landscapes around Phoenix are so variable and particular to our part of the world, with each hike providing a unique perspective on the desert wildlife. Walking through South Mountain Park is a totally different from taking a trail in the McDowells, yet both are parts of Phoenix's greater landscape. To the casual observer, it's all desert, but we know better.

Statewide Diversity If you are sick of the desert, especially in summer, Arizona offers many other options within driving distance of the Southern desert areas. Driving upstate reveals forests, rivers, canyons, and lakes that are ripe for exploring.

Regulars Despite not being known as a particularly outdoorsy town, there is a huge hiking community here in Phoenix, and once you become part of the crowd, it's easy to recognize a friendly face on the way up your usual climb. An open and welcoming community, we hikers are a loving bunch here in Phoenix, always ready to say hi and talk about the weather while walking up those Piestewa stairs.

Multipurpose Trails From technical rock climbs, scrambling boulder-filled trails, and vertical mountain ranges, to meandering desert walks, boating on calm lakes, and driving to scenic viewpoints, there is something outside for everyone. Mountain biking, boating, waterfall jumping, and night hiking all have a place in the Arizona outdoor scene, with room for more.

The Grand Canyon How many people can say that they are able to explore one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World as easily as we can? Not many, and that's pretty wonderful.

Weather Let's face it, this heat really sucks the life out of us sometimes, but we actually do have ideal weather for outdoor activities most days of the year. This amount of sunshine means it's nearly always a good day to hike as long as you time it right, hydrate, and wear sunscreen.

So don't let the summer heat make you forget about the perks of Arizona's outdoor activities. Get out there, hike, climb, boat, swim, and jump to your new favorite Arizona summertime activity. See you there.

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