3 Scenic Hiking Trails You Should Not Miss Near Mesa, AZ
Arizona is a premier hiking destination. From beautiful, sunny days to a variety of challenging terrain, no other landscape is like it. Explore these three scenic hiking trails near Mesa, Arizona.
1. Papago Park
Located just minutes from downtown Phoenix, this urban oasis offers exceptional hiking and a wide array of outdoor recreational opportunities. Comprised primarily of sandstone, Papago Park is well-known for its towering buttes that rise and fall around the park.
Most of Papago’s trails are easy treks, with smooth footing and a low elevation gain, making it a popular place for families. Take the kids and make the climb up to “the eye,” a hole through the crowning peak at the park, where you can sit and look out over the city.
Papago Park is home to two of the region’s most visited attractions, including the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. It also offers a variety of activities including an archery range and a fishing lagoon.
2. Usery Mountain Regional Park
Usery Park offers over 29 miles of trails for hiking, ranging in length from a quick 0.2-mile jaunt to a strenuous 7-mile excursion. Start with the barrier-free Merkle Trail for an easy, relatively short hike. For a real challenge, head out on the Pass Mountain Trail.
One of the most popular trails, Wind Cave Trail, meanders high onto the mountainside and offers hikers access to additional trail systems within the adjacent Tonto National Forest. Usery Park is an excellent place to hike, thanks to plenty of elevation gains and spectacular views of the surrounding desert.
All paths at this park are designated “multi-use” trails. Keep your eyes open for mountain bikers and horseback riders around corners and behind bluffs. Follow proper trail etiquette, and yield the way when appropriate.
3. Dreamland Villa’s Nature Walk
Looking for a quick urban stroll? Discover Dreamland Villa’s Nature Walk. This fun-filled trail offers hikers a more natural experience than walking on the common area’s sidewalk, but it’s still within city limits. The 1-mile strip starts under the power line tower between Decatur and Colby streets and meanders its way from Higley Road to 61st Street.
Grab a copy of the map at the Dreamland Villa Recreational Center, and follow the yellow line to complete the walk. Most stretches are clearly defined. But don’t worry, despite the native vegetation and wildlife, you won’t get disoriented while exploring the desert on this trail.
If you’re looking to extend the Dreamland Villa’s Nature Walk into a longer hike, go east on the powerline or go west across Higley to the grassy area. Follow the sidewalk north to the water run-off canal. There are terrific hiking opportunities on both the north or south sides of this waterway.
Get outdoors and discover three scenic hiking trails near Mesa, Arizona. Always remember to bring along plenty of water for both you and your four-legged friend, and practice good safety habits by letting someone know where you are going. You’ll be glad you did.
Image via Flickr by donjd2 | CC BY 2.0 | Cropped from original