Ranger Hiking Trail – Phoenix

Ranger Hiking Trail – South Mountain

Ranger trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona is a great hiking route for getting a good workout in or spending some quiet time in nature. As with most trails on South Mountain, this offers gorgeous views of the city.

However, this trail is somewhat off the beaten path providing peaceful solitude surrounded by the desert wilderness.

Tall hiking signs with map and caution warnings standing along desert hiking trail in Phoenix, Arizona. Saguaro cactus and South Mountain in background

This trail starts off in a flat area near the Five Tables trailhead.

As you begin you will be walking towards the base of the mountain. Throughout the entire hike there will be moments of deception because you will not be able to see the slithering trail laid out before you. Therefore, you will not realize you are at the end until you are nearing it.

The pathway along Ranger Trail is very well marked and is a well-designed path. While you may be gaining elevation the path pretty much stays as a dirt flat path leading the way.

Along the expanding incline towards the mountain you’ll start to realize the trail is picking up some speed and moving nicely along towards the mountain.

Dirt Trail with rocks and green shrubs, inclining up towards blue sky

At just shy of a mile, you will come to a section where a few switchbacks appear leading you up to the paved Summit Road. Directly across this road you will see a trail marker indicating where Ranger Trail continues.

a paved road in between a hiking trail. Brown post, showing "R" for Ranger and pointing across the paved road, where another brown trail marker is standing and hiking trail continues further around green shrubs

Once across Summit Road, it will really pick up with more switchbacks and inclines; becoming more exciting than it was in the beginning.

From this point on, the views are really spectacular as you gain more elevation, giving you a broader view of Phoenix. The path becomes a series of switchbacks and increasingly gets steeper.

Love a Hiking Trail Run?

If you’re looking for a workout, look no further! This section is great for those who love to jog along the hiking trails.

A dirt path on side of South Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona heading up on incline. View of desert and city of Phoenix below.
dirt hiking trail along Phoenix's Ranger Trail. Path is dark brown and curving inward toward mountain

The End of Ranger Trail

As you continue following Ranger Trail all of the sudden it will come to an abrupt end. It meets with National Trail while along this incline route up.

Brown post with sticker with R in white, End of Trail, along Ranger hiking trail in Phoenix, Arizona

The lookout view from Ranger is beautiful as you gaze out towards the rest of the park. If you want a longer hike you can head onto National Trail and explore more of South Mountain.

 

Phoenix Hiking Trail Essentials:

Over 200 hikers a year have accidents along the Phoenix hiking trails. The desert is a beautiful wide open space but with that also comes a bit of danger that all hikers need to be aware of and be prepared for.

To give you the best hiking experience be sure to bring these following essentials with you on your Phoenix hike

  • Water
  • Sunscreen/Sun Protected Clothing
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Salty Snacks (electrolytes)
  • Durable shoes

Phoenix
70°
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Wind: 3mph SSW
Humidity: 57%
Pressure: 29.89"Hg
UV index: 0
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