15 Ways to Enjoy the Phoenix Mountain Preserve

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Photo Credit: Brooks Swigart, Dreaming Draw Recreation Area, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.

Phoenix is home to amazing weather, growing job opportunities, popular attractions, beautiful scenery, and a never-ending list of enjoyable activities. It is no surprise that Phoenix gained more than 76,000 new residents in 2016, according to AZCentral.com. As Phoenix continues to grow, escaping from the hustle and bustle can seem hard without leaving the city. Fortunately, there are some not-so-hidden gems in Phoenix, which offer
solitude and adventure for all.

A string of mountain preserves runs through Phoenix, allowing desert life to thrive despite the population growth. The City of Phoenix provides maps of each area, highlighting the specific trails across the city. These trails lend themselves as a playground for mountain bikers, hikers, and even horseback riders. The well maintained trails, while popular among local hikers, still lend themselves to be fairly quiet and uncrowded. Several of the marked trails, lead to small peaks. From those trails, hikers get a great view of the city without spending all day planning and accomplishing a hike.

Finding your way to a section of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves is not tricky. Phoenix visitor centers offer information on areas more tailored to your specific desires or location. You may also park in nearby neighborhoods and enter the area most
convenient for you to explore. Because it is so close, there is really no excuse not to venture into the desert of Phoenix.
Below is a list of activities to take advantage of in desert preserve near you.
1. Pack a sunrise or sunset picnic meal, hike to a peek of one of the mountains nearby, and find a nice spot to enjoy your meal.
2. Mountain bike through the preserve’s trails or stop by a local bike shop to see if there are group bike rides which you can join in.
3. Join others for a group run or hike by searching hiking groups in your area on Facebook.
4. Plan a group run or a hike on your own with family or friends.
5. Visit the North Mountain Visitor Center for one of their many free events.
6. Take your daily dog walk out to the desert on nice weather days. If you have friends and family with their own puppies, ask them to join you for a group hike. As a warning there are regulations to keep your dog on a leash, and you will most likely come across other dogs out on the trails.
7. Fill your backpack with gear, and take it with you for more of a workout, or specific training for your upcoming trip.
8. Find a quiet spot on the side of the trail to set up a yoga mat and find solitude and relaxation.
9. If you have a horse, make sure to take advantage of the well-maintained trails for your horseback riding.
10. Grab a desert plant and wildlife book from the North Mountain Visitor Center. See if you can find all the plants and animals listed.
11. To beat the summer heat, bring a good flashlight or headlamp and venture out at night for a hike with friends or family. The view of the city lit up at night is truly amazing.
12. Take 15 minutes (or more) to stop and hike before a lovely meal with family or friends in the city.
13. Pack your favorite artistic instruments, walk until you see a spot you really enjoy, and then set up a space where you can create a masterpiece.
14. Hike to a quiet place with a book and “escape” Phoenix.
15. Grab brunch at one of the many popular breakfast spots, we all know Phoenix has a huge assortment of food options.

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