While Camelback Mountain certainly deserves the hype it gets, the trails leading to the top can get way too crowded with hikers looking to get the perfect shot for Instagram. There are certainly plenty of options for hiking in Phoenix and Scottsdale, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to find a trail that is both beautiful and not overly packed. To escape the crowds, we recommended taking a trek out to Lookout Mountain Preserve.
Located in northern Phoenix, Lookout Mountain is truly one of the city’s best-kept secrets. With a plethora of hiking and mountain bike trails, the preserve has something for visitors of all skill levels. Whether you want a beginner level hike around the base or a more challenging summit trail, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department works hard to maintain paths for all.
While Lookout Mountain doesn’t get as high in elevation as the neighboring North Mountain and Piestewa Peak, it provides beautiful views and scenic vistas that rival the surrounding spots. Plus the trails host incredible rock formations and offer a chance to observe Arizona wildlife up close. And while you will certainly pass a few fellow hikers, you will be able to hike by yourself, rather than jockey for position.
To start, we recommend visitors keep it simple and go with the “Summit Trail.” To go out and back it’s a little less than a mile, and the route is pretty moderate. There are a few steep spots, but for the most part, it is an easily walkable trail that offers great views without being too strenuous. Plus it’s perfect for hikers who want to bring their dogs along!
Whether you are looking for a great hike, wanting to take ATVs out on desert trails, or simply want to soak up the sun by a pool, Phoenix has something for the whole family. There are plenty of activities and things to do in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, but knowing some tips for avoiding crowds can go a long way to getting the most out of your time in Arizona!