South Mountain Park, Phoenix
Categories: Nature & Parks
Preserved in its natural mountainous state with native desert vegetation, South Mountain Park represents the largest municipal park in America. The park offers 82 km (51 mi) of primary trails for cycling, hiking, and horseback riding. Head to Dobbins Lookout, 9 km (5.5 mi) from the park's main entrance to see desert vistas and views of the valley. The park is home to a wide range of impressive plant and animal life; watch for chuckwalla, a large-bodied lizard. There are an average of 65 of them per 1 hectare (2 acre) in the park. You can visit the Environmental Education Center for trail maps and hiking advice. A small museum housed inside the center also gives information on the Sonoran Desert and its ecosystems. Make South Mountain Park a centerpiece of your Phoenix vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Phoenix vacation builder.
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I've lived in the Phoenix area most of my life. My friends and I used to visit the summit weekly. I went there one Sunday morning earlier, drove to the summit and was stopped many times by bicycles, j... read more »
I was able to finally hike South Mountain the last time I was in Phoenix, AZ. It does require some physical effort/endurance but it is well worth it. You just need to verify that you calmly pace yours... read more »
South mountain is a sacred site. If you choose to hike all day, or an hour, I highly recommend this visit. There are horse back riding stables at the entrance. Picnic Ramadas scattered throughout. If ... read more »
I lived in Phoenix for several years, looking at South Mountain every single day on my commute to work, without knowing that there was an easy, quick road to the top! But once I got to know about it, I have made several trips to the top and always enjoyed them. It's one of the best spots in Phoenix from where to watch the sunset. Beautiful views of the Phoenix city, as the lights come on. Great place from which to watch flights land and take off from the Sky Harbor Airport. Especially around sunset times, you can see a long line of flights land and take off every 3 minutes or so. Great place to visit for the whole family, catch the sunset and then go out for dinner.
The South Mountain National Park has plenty of means of recreational uses from hiking to mountain trails for horses and bicyclers on and off road kind. You can gaze out across Phoenix " The Valley of the Sun" from end to end. There's two major lookout points up at the crest of the mountain, you can drive up to or hike up from either way. Also two on the south side of the mountain. As it looks over the Gila River Tribal Nations Indian Reservation and also towards the southern most part of the Phoenix Valley. Also you get a closeer look at the enormous south western moutain peaks called The Estrella Mountains. A good place to watch the sunrise, or sunset and the see the city lights awaken at night for as the moonlight nights only just enhance you viewing pleasure.
The trails are always maintained and well managed. It's hard to find a popular place or park that is not evidently littered by people. In an atmosphere where you want to get away and be in nature a bit, it can definitely take away from the environment. The number of trails and options are numerous, so there is a chance that there are more areas to hike.
The 2nd largest municipal park after Central Park, this place is huge and most of it is hard to access. There are many hidden treasures, though if you're willing to make the hike and/or drive. Hidden Valley is beautiful, especially within a couple days of a rare rainfall in Phoenox, since water tends to trickle down the crick and the sides of the smooth shale rock faces there. It's a decent hike to get back in there off of the. Mormon or National Trails so bring lots of water and don't plan for this during the hotter times of year. Dobbins Lookout is a neat place that can be accessed by car. There is a marker there that points out popular landmarks in the valley far below. I recommend going to Dobbins just before sunset so you can check out the city by day and the spectacular lights of same after dark, of course hoping for a great sunset to divide the two. The park entrance does close at sunset so you have to time your visit to be there for that.
Lennox D. Punch, Jr
One of my favorite places in all of this city. It offers such a wonderful view of our amazing skyline. And if you venture over to the backside you can see Ahwatukee and beyond. It's worth the drive up!
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