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Family desert hike near Tempe

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Missouri
posts: 21
reviews: 28
Family desert hike near Tempe

We're in town this week for the Ironman AZ--my husband's competing in the race Sunday. I was hoping to check out Sedona in the next couple days, but is there a good place to hike with rock formations, outside of town, that's closer? We have 2 kids, 5 and 10. This is the first time our kids have been to the southwest, so I'd like to show them the real scenery outside of town. Short notice, but thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 41,476
reviews: 136
1. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

There are cool mountains around Phoenix, but there is nothing that can compare to Sedona.

Paris, France
posts: 145
2. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

Climbing on the rock formations at Papago Park on the Phoenix/Tempe border is always fun.

Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tempe
posts: 1,766
reviews: 81
3. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

There are lots of places you could go! Papago Park is very accessible - and if you are on Galvin Parkway, take the turn to the zoo but turn left before the zoo, and you should be able to find Hole in the Rock.

There are some good desert hikes in South Mountain park and at Piestewa Peak.

But my top recommendation would be to head east on 60 to Ellsworth Road, turn north on Ellsworth which becomes Usery Pass and hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park.

Have fun and take water, even in this weather!

Scottsdale, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Phoenix, Scottsdale
posts: 1,635
reviews: 65
4. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

Unfortunately, Tempe is in the middle of the urban Phoenix area. You could go up on South Mountain. Go west on Baseline out of Tempe. There is also the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with many, many trails in north Scottsdale. Go north on the 101 to the Pima Road exit.

Sedona is nice, but is at least a 2-hour drive one way. It depends on how much time you have.

Scottsdale, Arizona
posts: 200
reviews: 47
5. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

South Mountain will have the most trails with varying degrees of difficulty and Papago, with it's huge rocks and boulders to scramble around on, are your best best and closest to Tempe. If you feel like venturing further out the suggestions above are all good ones. For the rock formations, I would suggest doing the north side of Tom's Thumb (accessible from 128th Street, just off of Dynamite Blvd/E Rio Drive) in far north Scottsdale, north of Troon Village. This is a 3 mile loop that has some pretty good elevation change in the first 3/4 mile but at the top has great views and really neat rock formations. They just built a new trailhead here with nice bathrooms and parking. It's a very nice trail. The last time we were up there, about 2 month ago, we saw a desert tortoise on the path and only about 7 other hikers in the 3 hours we were on the trail.

Missouri
posts: 21
reviews: 28
6. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

Thanks for all the suggestions! We decided to make the drive to Sedona yesterday (gorgeous!) but the kids and I will be trying out some other local hikes as well. Papago Park sounds like a fun day. One more question: anyone know if we can walk up to the "A" above the Sundevils Stadium? It looked like it was being painted yesterday, so just wondering if it is open or closed to foot traffic.

Phoenix, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Phoenix, Puerto Penasco
posts: 1,614
reviews: 12
7. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

yelp.com/biz/hayden-butte-aka-a-mountain-tem…

Edited: 1:18 pm, November 17, 2012
Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tempe
posts: 1,766
reviews: 81
8. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

Go ahead and try to hike it. If it's not open, you can walk quite aways west along Tempe Town Lake.

Harleysville...
Destination Expert
for Fountain Hills
posts: 3,647
reviews: 198
9. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

It was probably being painted for the last home game today. It is a good hike but will be crowded.

10. Re: Family desert hike near Tempe

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