If you’re itching for some outdoor family time, this is the list for you. These kid-friendly hikes near Phoenix will give you a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Sonoran landscape with cactus and wild flowers around every turn. Get an early start to beat the day’s heat and spend some time exploring!

Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, sometimes closures occur at the last minute due to circumstances beyond our control, such as the spread of Covid-19. We highly recommend that you call ahead before you pack your kids (and all those snacks, and diapers…) and haul them across town. Stay safe! 

photo: Kate Loweth

Usery Mountain Regional Park

This Mesa park offers miles of hiking trails and helpful park employees who are more than willing to share information about the area’s flora and fauna with you. Learn about native snakes and scorpions at educational programs for families. Make sure you stop at the Nature Center and ask them to point out the desert tortoise habitat. If you are lucky, you just might be able to spot Al as he makes his way around the property.

Learn more: maricopacountyparks.net

Bajada Nature Trail

Located in Scottsdale, this half-mile interpretive loop is close to the Sabina Recreation Visitor Center in McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The loop is ADA accessible and stroller friendly. Follow along with the signage to identify local plants. Bird watching is popular here. 

Learn more: outdoorproject.com

Hayden Butte Preserve Park

Commonly known as "A" Mountain because of the 60-foot letter that symbolizes ASU pride, Hayden Butte Preserve Park offers a short and paved hike that's perfect for families. The mountain has a long history as a home to Native Americans and offers a beautiful view of the city from the top. Hayden Butte Preserve contains approximately 500 petroglyphs, or rock art images, that were made by the Hohokam between A.D. 750 and 1450. 

Learn more: tempe.gov

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area

Once a dried-up riverbed full of trash, the Rio Salado Habitat is now home to over 200 species of birds and animals. 16 miles of paved and dirt trails follow the Salt River and are a great spot for a family hike.

Learn more: riosalado.audubon.org

Piestewa Peak Nature Trail

The Piestewa Nature Trail is a 1.4-mile loop trail that allows hikers the opportunity to escape the urban environment for a true Sonoran Desert experience. The trail is moderately difficult and somewhat rocky. Most of the trail skirts a large, deep, wash that provides a home to an assortment of wildlife. Trail users will observe a wide variety of native Sonoran trees and other plant life on this trail. The Piestewa Nature Trail often provides spectacular springtime wildflower viewing. A restroom and drinking fountain are located near the trailhead.

Learn more: phoenix.gov

Double Butte Loop Trail

This 2.5-mile loop trail has little elevation gain and is great for kids. Starting at the West Park Parking Lot, you can hike the trail in either direction, as the rolling nature of the local terrain provides a similar experience either way you choose to go. Users will enjoy dramatic views of the downtown corridor and have an opportunity to the visit an amphitheater built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1933.  This trail travels through a typical Sonoran Desert biome.

Learn more: phoenix.gov

—Kate Loweth



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