Piestewa Peak (aka Squaw Peak)

Trail #300 – Summit Trail
Length: 1.2 miles (one-way)
Rating – Difficult
Location: Phoenix Mountains Park (trail head is the first parking you see on your left once entering the park)IMG_2224

  • Take 51N to Glendale Ave, towards Lincoln Dr.
  • Keep right on Lincoln and turn Left on Squaw Peak Dr. (2nd left with traffic light)

This hike is….challenging. The minute you get out of your car from the parking lot and head towards the trail head – you’re walking on an incline and it’s not gradual. This trail is steep and it doesn’t stop until you’re at the top.  You will gain more than 1,200 feet in elevation on this trail and you’ll do it in 1.2 miles.

With that said, Piestewa Peak is in my top favorite 10 hikes, it’s a challenge and a lot of fun.

View from the top

Here’s what I would suggest:

If your brand spankin’ new to hiking – DO NOT DO THIS! I promise – you will not have good time and you need to work your way up to this hike. Check out, Kiwanis Trail on South Mountain – it’s really good for beginners and it’s my favorite chill hike.

If you’ve hiked a little and feel you’re ready for a vertical challenge – well – okay! Here it is!!!

And for you advanced hikers – you got this and you will definitely beat me to the top!

The thing that makes this hike so hard – is just how steep it is. As I mentioned, the minute you step out of your car you are having to walk at an incline.  The trail length is 1.2 miles, so it’s a short hike. I’ve hiked it on days where I felt exhausted before the hike even began and I’ve hiked it on days were I felt super energetic –  and it takes me about an hour to get up to the summit. So be prepared for doing about an hours’ worth of stair master – to get yourself to the top and then take in the gorgeous view.

IMG_2293The trail begins by walking on a crumbling concrete path. The further up you go you’ll notice that the trail changes to a dirt trail and stone steps. There are also parts were you have to walk on top parts of the actual mountain (although, this doesn’t begin to happen until the end).

Bring lots of water, good hiking shoes and a little snack to reward yourself when you make it on the top! Remember to take your time and take breaks! At times, I’ve felt a little intimidated because this is a popular work-out trail so you’ll see these complete in shape locals running up IMG_2236and down this trail without even breaking a sweat. Don’t let that bother you and go at your own pace. This trail has great spots to takes breaks on with benches so that you can relax and take in the view.

Seeing as how this hiking trail is so popular for both locals and tourists, it gets really crowed on the weekends. I would suggest going during the week if you can. It’ll still have people on the trail – but not as many as it would on the weekend.

Important Side Note – DO NOT PARK in the first parking lot you see on the right hand side. It’s an overfill lot – and the first time I hiked this trail – my car got broken into and my purse was stolen.  Just keep going straight into the park and try to find a parking space in the actual park area.

Happy Trails!


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