WEST VALLEY (3TV/CBS 5) -- Hiking is Arizona’s pastime!
There are plenty of fun hikes for beginners and pros in the Phoenix area, and the west side is no different.
Debbie Hendricks, owner of adventure company Just Roughin' It in Scottsdale shares some of the best trails to hike in the west Valley:
Thunderbird Conservation Park – Glendale
Thunderbird Conservation Park is a 1,185-acre park with 15 miles of trails in north Glendale. The trails at this park are short and sweet and range from easy to moderate.
Loops are always ideal, so the Cholla Loop is a great trail to take that is rated as moderate and has some steep spots. The trail is about 3.5 miles total distance. You can pick up the trailhead from either the parking lot off 59th Avenue or at 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak.
There are parking lots at 59th Avenue just south of Pinnacle Peak Road and at the corner of 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road. There is also a parking lot at 67th Avenue and Patrick Lane, which is north of Deer Valley Road.
Some other great trails at this park:
Sunrise: This trail offers a nice summit and at 2 miles in length, it doesn’t take too long to get to the top. The trailhead is at the north end of the amphitheater in the 59th Avenue parking lot.
Coach Whip: This trail is the longest in the park and stretches across the whole area, beginning at the 67th Avenue parking lot and ending at 51st Avenue and Potter Drive. This moderate trail is not a loop and is 5 miles long.
Flatlander: This looped trail is great for running or just a slow stroll because there is limited elevation change. It is rated as easy and is at the 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak parking lot.
Peoria Mountain Trails – Peoria
Peoria has trails all throughout their city including paved trails for biking and running. Some great spots to hit in Peoria are the mountain trails.
Here are a few of the best trails in Peoria:
Westwing Mountain Trail: This looped trail is rated as moderate and is a total of 3.8 miles. The trail starts off near a neighborhood but then offers some great views when you get around to the back side of the mountain. The trailhead is at Westwing Park, 27100 N. Westwing Parkway.
Sunrise Mountain Trail: This heavily trafficked loop is a total of about 4.5 miles and is moderate in difficulty. The trail also offers options for easier, shorter loops. The trailhead is also at Westwing Park.
Eastwing Mountain Trail: This is another loop trail that is less busy and is about 1.5 miles in total length. There are both moderate and difficult options. The difficult option is a bit of a scramble. On the moderate trail you hike down to the rock portion to complete the loop. This trail offers a summit with a great view of Peoria. The trailhead is at Sonoran Mountain Ranch Park 7098 W. Miner Trail.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park - Waddell
Whtie Tank Mountain Regional Park is a large park in Maricopa County near Waddell. The park has 30 miles of trails that range from easy to strenuous.
Waterfall Trail: One of the best trails is actually the one that's pretty short but the views are great. The Waterfall Trail is about 2 miles round trip, it's a great short hike for beginners. The halfway point offers an array of ancient petroglyphs and the hike ends at a waterfall! The water is usually only flowing after a recent rainfall but the pool of water is there year round. The waterfall is back in a canyon and can take a little scrambling off the trail to get a good view, but it's worth it!
Ford Canyon and Mesquite Canyon Loop: Hikers can start on one trail and end on the other so it can be taken clockwise (starting at Mesquite) or counter clockwise (starting at Ford Canyon). Most people hike it counter clockwise. The hike is just over 10 miles with a roughly 1400 ft. elevation change. Also, this is the same area you would find the Waterfall trail.
Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Estrella Park offers over 33 miles of trails that range in length from 2.3 miles to 8.8 miles and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous.
Rainbow Valley and Butterfield Trail: This is a moderate loop of over 8.5 miles with just over 300 ft elevation, and just like the Mesquite and Ford Canyon trails at the White Tanks, hikers can start at either the Rainbow Valley or Butterfield Trail. Most people go counter clockwise. What is awesome about Estrella is that there are a lot of other trails within the loop where people can shorten the hike but still hike a loop! Just remember to bring a map so you don't end up on the wrong tail!
Remember to wear sunscreen year round and pack plenty of water when you visit any of these trails.