The Couple Who Hikes Together Stays Together

Feeling stressed about making plans for Valentine’s Day this Friday?

Instead of a loud and overcrowded restaurant, what if you took your date to a place that deepens romantic bonds and has been proven to positively increase mental health? No reservations required, because this place can be found along the wide-open space under the bright blue sky, along the winding hiking trails of South Mountain.

Hiking Strengthens Romantic Bonds

A couple who spends time in nature can clear their heads and become free of distractions. Unlike being in a restaurant or movie theater, spending time outdoors allows you to focus on the present moment, building closeness to one another. When hiking, couples fall into the same walking rhythm, creating a nonverbal emotion of connection.  This brings a feeling of being in tuned with each other, increasing the romantic bond.

Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors

Spending time outdoors increases our sensory perceptions, allowing us to smell, see and hear nature at an increased level. Breathing in the crisp February air, listening to the chirps of birds while standing among the protruding green saguaro cactuses, allows us to relax. When our mind is relaxed, the anxiety, depression and stress dwindle away. Simply put, spending time in nature makes us feel happier.

With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you take your Valentine on a hiking date instead of stressing out over which place to eat at?

Below are a few hiking trails found along the Ahwatukee side of South Mountain:

Hiking Trails in Ahwatukee

Pima Canyon Trailhead
4500 E. Pima Canyon Rd
Open: 5am – 11pm (Parking lot gate closes at 7pm)

Pima Wash Trail
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2 miles (roundtrip)

This is a great trail for beginner hikers. The route remains relatively flat as you are walking along a wash section along the base of South Mountain.

Marco de Niza Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2 miles (roundtrip)

This hike quickly ascends along a peak and travels along the mountain’s ridgeline. It offers great views from the top.

Desert Foothills Trailhead
14251 S. Desert Foothills Pkwy
Open: 5am – 11pm (Parking lot gate closes at 7pm)

Telegraph Pass Trail
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Distance: 2 miles (roundtrip)

This is a great trail for a couple looking for a hiking challenge. While this route begins easy enough along a paved path leading towards the base of South Mountain about a half mile in, this trail begins to incline up higher and higher. This will for sure get your hearts pumping together.

Pyramid Trailhead (Area 620)
15441 S. 19th Ave
Open: 5am – 11pm (Parking lot gate closes at 7pm)

Bursera Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6 miles (roundtrip)

This trail is great for couples looking for a hike with an incline, but not too steep. This quiet route follows along Western side of South Mountain towards the inner portion of the mountain range. It offers great views and solitude.

These hiking trails are more than just routes along the mountain. They give us access to nature, a necessity that it vitally important for our health and for creating stronger relationships.

So, for this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the water, the trail mix and the box of chocolates to share while spending quality time outdoors with your loved ones.

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