It's officially the fall/winter season here in Arizona. That means its about 75-88 degrees during the day and feels pretty great. Lately its even been 50-60 and chilly!! It's the perfect time to hike around and explore. I love taking the kids out and letting them play and go on new adventures. It's so fun and we create the best memories.
I remember when we first moved here to Arizona. I hated the desert. I hated the cacti and the desert plants. Basically all the scenery around me. I have grown to love it so much over the last 4.5 years of living here. Its my favorite. I even have a few desert plants in my home. Over the years we have loved taking our visitors to at least one or 2 hike / trails when they visit. They always love it and its a great free activity.
If you come to visit Arizona make sure you go to these little hikes / trials. You and your family will love it.
These first 3 are all Easy and kid friendly.
1.The Riparian Preserve-( Gilbert, AZ) We love it here!! There are several trails that wander throughout this preserve, It's so fun. We love to bring our scooters or bikes for the trails. The trails are all around a lake and swampy areas with birds, ducks, turtles, and fish. We love to bring a loaf of bread to feed the ducks. It is a popular spot for bird-watchers, dog-walkers, photos and families.They have a few kids areas as well and the kiddos love it. Noah is digging for Dino bones in the picture below. Both of my kids love that area.
2. Papago Park aka Hole in the Rock- (Phoenix, AZ)This is a all time favorite of ours. Whenever family or friends visit. I always want to take them here. Its a easy hike and so pretty. Its right by the PHX zoo. The views are amazing. There are also other hiking trails off of the area. So we always go explore those as well. www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/papago-park
3. Usery Park Wind Cave Trails - (Mesa, AZ)The Wind Cave Trail is one of those hikes that everyone Arizona needs to do once. It is about 3.2 miles round trip and takes you to some fun alcoves which you can sit and rest in before you turn around and head back . Merkle Trail is a easier and is a 1.1 mile loop trail located in the same area. It features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding. You can even take a stroller on this loop. So that is pretty awesome! It makes it easier for us Moms!
There is also a hike called Vista Trail that is up hill. Its on the same circle as Merkle and is still kid friendly for older kids. Noah was in our hiking backpack for this hike. Reggie did great. He just had to be more careful. As there are loose rocks and uphill. Also, be careful for Jumping catci / teddy bear chollas. I thought wow, these are so pretty and got close for a picture. Next thing i know my shoes are covered in cacti balls.And no i did not step into them. It was so weird. All of a sudden my feet just hurt and they were there.
There is also the cutest little park in Usery! Its shaded and has cute fake cacti swings and other things for littles to play on. My boys loved it!! There is also a $6 entrance fee to Usery Park. www.maricopa.gov/parks/usery
These next few are a little harder hikes. Kids can still do them. It just might take a few more breaks and longer hiking times. We take our awesome hiking backpack with us in case one of the kids wants to use it.
4. Camelback Moutain- (PHX,AZ) Camelback Mountain is an excellent hike or climb in Arizona. Hiking Camelback Mountain is perfect for a tourist activity in Phoenix, because the hike is quick and is located in the middle of the Phoenix Valley with great views! Even locals love it and its always pretty crowded. http://climbcamelback.com/
5. South Mountain Park - (Queen Creek, AZ)Prefect place if you are visiting the East Valley area. Great trails and desert beauty. There is a $6 dollar parking and entrance fee.https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain/trail-descriptions-and-map
Hiking Tips--- Even tho the temps are down. Make sure you bring lots of water with you ! It still gets hot and little love their water. It is also good to have a first aid kit. My kids get cuts and scrapes and always want a band-aid. I hope you all enjoy these hikes and trails as much as we do!!
Teddy Bear Cholla
Cutest Monkey!! This play area was so fun!