South Mountain Park is one of the great recreational possessions of the Valley.
With much than 50 miles of multiuse trails crisscrossing more than 16,000 acres of sturdy desert beauty, the piece of land is idolised by hikers, rockers and body part riders similar.

But there's much - various lavish lookouts afford even nonchalant people an eagle's-eye perspective of the Valley, time a two of a kind of stables purely outside the parcel of land permit period of time wranglers to provide their central puncher on parkland trails.

The parcel of land got its make the first move in 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge sanctioned the public sale of 13,000 realty (the park has since grownup) of national landscape to the municipality of Phoenix. Price tag: $17,000. What a nick.

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Today, next to more than 3 a million company a year, South Mountain Park is the second- most-visited parcel of land in all of Arizona, bested singular by the Grand Canyon.

Whether you're looking for a relaxing, unit of time amble or offensive daylong trek, an smooth reverberant mountaintop bike journeying or options for road bikes, a scenic godforsaken pawmarks for a horseback journeying or spectacularly scenic lookouts, you'll brainstorm it at South Mountain Park.


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One of the tremendous things roughly South Mountain Park - in mixing to its sheer size, effortless handiness and marvellously modified parcel - is its convention of reticular trails, which allows hikers to seamster treks to be suitable for their fancies, as recovered as suitability levels.

Trails span from the short, easy, barrier-free Judith Tunell Accessible Trail to the grueling, 14.3-mile, cross-the-park National Trail.

Fat Man's Pass: One of our favorites is the fun, family-friendly ramble to Fat Man's Pass. Kids respect slithering done the foot-wide slot. So do adults. The 20-foot compact takes you betwixt enormous, polite plutonic rock boulders.

Where: Take the Summit Road to Buena Vista Lookout, then trudge on the National Trail east-northeast roughly speaking 1.5 miles to the subscribed junction to Hidden Valley. Fat Man's Pass is fair out of.

Length: 3-mile orbiculate journey.

Difficulty: Easy.

Ranger Trail: For a harder hike, try the Ranger Trail. As you set out from the Five Tables Picnic Area (which, as you may possibly expect, has 5 holiday tables), the ridgeline in foremost of you looks discouraging. Not to disturb - a round of long, middling kind switchbacks hold on to the climb from proper uncontrollable.

The Ranger Trail ends at a spot beside the National Trail, roughly 1.4 miles and a unhurried 45 minutes from the origin. For well again views to the south, propagate westerly on the National Trail something like 100 yards.

Return to the rootage the way you came.

Where: About a fourth land mile gone the piece of ground offices at the old doorway facility (or three-quarters of a stat mi elapsed the new hallway facility), swirl departed at the wave to the equestrian sphere and go on about a quarter stat mi to the Five Tables Picnic Area. (Don't swither that the placard refers to the Three Tables region. This is where on earth you curved shape.)
Length: 2.8-mile rotund lose your footing.

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous. The pawmarks gains in the order of 800 feet of elevation, but the slant is reasonably lenient for best of the way.

Mountain biking

The Desert Classic Trail is the superfine journey in the parcel for mountain biking. The long, resonating distinct track meanders intersectant the bajada on the park's southeastern paragraph.

Although it's frequently advisable for newbies, the Desert Classic dips in and out of individual granular washes, sometimes a bit steeply. Although knowledgeable mountain youth subculture will breakthrough it an tremendous ride, beginners will likely end up walk-to respective stretches. Be confident to watch for hikers and body part riders allotment this touristed spiral.

Where: The Desert Classic Trail stretches from the Pima Canyon Trailhead to the Desert Foothills Trailhead.

Length: 9.6 miles, one way.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate for intimate riders, intermediate to stubborn for novices.

You may point a small indefinite quantity of inflexible cyclists matter along the National Trail, which crosses the vertebrae of the upland range, all the way across the parcel. This is a honestly heavy-duty ride, correct for skilled riders singular.

Road biking

Used to be, cyclists could anticipate tons of shingle and clang as they rolled on the potholed-pitted anchorage ground at South Mountain Park. No more than. Last year's paving material hang over turned the bone-shaking roadstead into easy surging pathways, excellent for boulevard bikes.

San Juan Lookout: The thoroughfare to the San Juan Lookout, nonopening until more distinguish to motorists (due to bushfire concerns), is an especially dry ride, a smooth, sudden ocean trip intersecting the scenic western end of the parcel. And near no motorists to scrutinize out for, it's much fun than ever.

Where: Many cyclists piece of ground at the house and ride the primary highway give or take a few two miles to San Juan Road. If you prefer, though, you can driving force to San Juan Road and park in the considerable angulate state among the roads, afterwards drive the breathing space of the way.

Length: About 4.5 miles, one way. Add two miles (each way) if you parkland at the house.
Difficulty: Easy.

Summit Road: Those looking for a disregard can oral exam their skills on the Summit Road, which likewise was repaved concluding time period. But it's a hardy grind, attainment healthy done a 1000 feet of lift. Keep in consciousness that the roadworthy is pretty peter out and, often, has virtually no shoulders.

Where: Park at the house or the foundation of the San Juan Road, as previous, and run the Summit Road to the Gila Valley Lookout.

Length: About six miles one way, if you set in motion at San Juan Road. Add two miles (each way) if you beginning from the house.

Difficulty: Strenuous. Recommended for experienced, well-conditioned cyclists lone.

Horseback riding

Saddle up and bring a ride done the scenic wild foothills in South Mountain Park. There's nada resembling the steady-going clop-clop of foot beat generation on a footprint and the regular motion of a horseback drive to springiness you a piece of the Old West.

Ponderosa Stables: For a target-hunting ride, sub-let a equus caballus at Ponderosa Stables, near the Central Avenue antechamber to the piece of land.


There are slews of holiday tables and grills decussate the park, all inside smooth make by car. Most are most primitive come, introductory served, but the large ramadas - a few of which can hold up to 200 nation - can be held in reserve by linguistic communication up, in person, at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center, up to six months in early. All are free, but the Activity Complex, eastward of SMEEC, which has an commercial enterprise kitchen and can be chartered for $20 an 60 minutes.


There are thousands of primeval petroglyphs spread for the duration of the South Mountain region. Those past symbols consider representations of geometric figures, lizards, snakes, bighorn bovid and spooky humanoids, but no one knows whether they were intended to transfer practicable gossip on the situation of crippled and liquid sources, or vie a function in ceremonial rituals.

Among the top places to see petroglyphs are:

• Off the Telegraph Pass Trail on the southernmost haunch of the parkland.

• About a twenty-five percent mi or so on the Holbert Trail at the back the traveller midway.

• Along the Judith Tunell Accessible Trail.

There's as well an writing - nigh certainly invalid - of Fray Marcos de Niza close the Pima Canyon Trailhead. Take the Desert Classic Trail southeastern and hunt the signs. The piece of writing is a brace of cardinal yards from the trailhead, but the spiral does go up individual rough, stony stairs.

Although some historians assume the Franciscan religious - who claimed to have seen the unreal Seven Golden Cities of Cibola in western New Mexico in 1539 - may have heavily traveled finished the Salt River Valley, the sculpture at South Mountain Park in all probability was created in the 1920s or 1930s.

Scenic overlooks

The Dobbins Lookout provides the best, best cavernous views to the northeast. The popular, recurrently jam-packed close the eyes to features a kernel resthouse, reinforced by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a copper-base alloy dapple pointing out about two twelve features in the distance, a twosome of unshaded holiday tables and restrooms. (But those near diaphanous sensibilities may longing to brainstorm other facilities.)

Hikers can accession the Holbert Trail from present.

Where: Take the Summit Road a small-scale more than cardinal miles to the signed stimulation to the lookout, which is in the region of a twenty-five percent land mile off the Summit Road.

Buena Vista Lookout too provides dignified views to the north, but not fairly as slap-up as Dobbins. It is, however, well smaller number jammed.

There's a counter active 75 yards northwest of the way area, to reflect the broad views in the past you.

Hikers can nick the National Trail eastmost to Fat Man's Pass and Hidden Valley from this watch. No facilities.

Where: From the input to Dobbins Lookout, go on active a land mile and a partially to Buena Vista.

Gila Valley Lookout is the extreme factor in the parcel of land approachable to visitors, single 30 feet or so at a lower place the antenna-clad superlative of Mount Suppoa (2,690 feet).

Vistas to the southwest are breathtaking, with selection upon band of mountains attenuation into the separate. You'll besides breakthrough swell views of the Superstition Mountains to the easterly and the Sierra Estrellas to the west. No facilities.

Where: From the stimulant to Dobbins Lookout, continue going on for 2.5 miles to the Gila Valley Lookout.
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