Arizona is a wonderful place for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. All across the desert state you will find endless options for hiking or biking scenic trails, tackling the red rocks in a Jeep, exploring canyons, or even horseback riding. For those who enjoy a thrill, zip lining and helicopter tours are also very popular activities.
In the capital city of Phoenix, you can find a ton of great places to explore and get active outdoors without having to drive hours outside of the city. Out of all the places we got to visit while we were there, Papago Park was easily one of the best. It is located directly in the heart of the city, where Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix meet, which makes it very accessible from all parts of the metro area. The park is open from 6am to 10pm daily and is pet friendly. It is important that dogs are leashed at all times and people are mindful of picking up and disposing of pet waste. Both park admission and vehicle parking are FREE to all visitors.
The park’s 1,500 acres offer visitors over 10 miles of various hiking and biking trails, an archery park, picnic areas, and fishing lagoons without requiring you to venture too far outside of the city limits. You can choose trails based on their level of difficulty and there is something for everyone, no matter how hard or easy you are looking to make your workout. You can also check out Governor Hunt’s Tomb, or Hole-In-The-Rock, two very popular tourist destinations for great picture taking. The park is also home to the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Zoo, Hall of Flame Museum, Rolling Hills Golf Course, Papago Amphitheater and the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park.
For those looking for easier hikes with beautiful scenery, three of the best trails to check out are the Hole-In-The-Rock trail, a straight 0.2 mile walk directly up to the famous “Hole,” the Crosscut Canal Path which is a 1.4 mile trek starting at the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, and proceeding left, or the Double Butt Loop Trail, a 2.3 mile hike staring at the West Park Drive parking lot and proceeding north.
Be sure to remember to bring sunscreen and lots of water with you as Arizona tends to get very hot during the day and you have to be careful of becoming dehydrated. The best time to visit the park is early morning, or later in the evening before sunset as the temperatures are cooler with the sun just rising and setting.
If you find yourself in the Phoenix area and are looking for a great place to enjoy a nice walk, run, bike ride, or even just find a nice spot to take some beautiful photos then this park is one I highly recommend checking out for yourself – you will not regret it!
“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” – Mary Davis