South Mountain is one of the best hiking mountains in Phoenix. The entire mountain is home to the South Mountain Park and Preserve which covers over 16,000 acres of desert wilderness. With over 51 miles of hiking trails, this city maintained park is one of the largest in the nation.
So, you know this mountain has some good hiking trails!
In fact, the city is currently working to bring us even more trails upon the mountain! And this hiker, seriously can’t wait to hike them!
With that said, I’m a little partial to South Mountain because this is where I fell in love with hiking. You may hear some other hikers say South Mountain isn’t “pretty” enough….and choose to hike elsewhere. Which, if fine….more space for me on South Mountain! But, I do feel that for beginner hikers, South Mountain is the mountain to explore on!
For this reason, I wanted to introduce 3 Beginner Hiking Trails on South Mountain. So put on some good hiking shoes, pack water and snacks, and let’s hit the trails!
Judith Tunell is a local Phoenix advocate to help those with disabilities. This hiking trail, provides hikers with a paved route, which is great for those in wheel chairs or small children. A mile long, this smooth trail along the base of the mountain offers some great views. There are also benches and shady areas to provide rest points for hikers.
Kiwanis trail is a favorite! Especially in the spring time as it’s known to have a lot of wildflowers. It follows along a wash area that will gradually take you towards Summit Road where you will have access to other hiking trails such as Telegraph Pass and National Trail. As you gain elevation you will be able to look back and see picturesque views of Downtown Phoenix, while still feeling away from the busy city life. While not completely flat, this trail does have some areas where you have steps, but overall it is a gradual incline and one of the best beginner trails out there!
The Max Delta trail follows along the western side of the South Mountain. On this 5 mile roundtrip hike you will gain some elevation. More or less the elevation gain is in the beginning of this trail, as you hike passed the rangers station. After this section it will flatten down and take you further into the park. While not the most picturesque views occurs, this is good for beginners looking to add some mileage on a somewhat flat and easy path.
Bonus Trail Time!
Okay, I know it says 3 in the title… but I’m giving you a bonus trail!
This trail is located at Beverly Canyon trail head at 46th street and Baseline. It has areas of gradual inclines, but this trail follows along the base of the eastern side of South Mountain. It tends to swerve in and out , like a snake slithering around, which, makes it feel more fun than just a straight line. Towards the end you’ll gain and lose some elevation, and also run into other hiking trails as well.
All of these hiking trails have trail markers, making it easy to navigate on. So, if you’re testing out your hiking legs for the first time and doing it alone, have no fear! You won’t get lost or have any problems following the trail. Be sure to check out our hiking essentials for beginners and then hit the trails and have some fun!
If you’ve done these trails, comment below and let us know your thoughts. Too easy? Not easy enough? Or do you think another trail should be in this list? Spill the beans and tell us what you think.