South Mountain Park


South Mountain Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. It is located in Phoenix, Arizona with 51 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. Mountain biking is also permitted on some of the trails. The roads are gated and trailhead parking is clearly marked. Operating hours are 5am to 7pm, though some parking areas like those for the trails will remain open till 11pm. The restroom and other facilities are closed at 7pm.

Judith Tunell Accessible Trail is a one mile loop with the trailhead near South Mountain Environmental Education Center. Mormon Trail is off 24th and Valley View roadways for a 1.1 mile hike. This trail has a 1,000 feet elevation change. Beverly Canyon Trail is 1.5 miles with a moderate level of difficultly. Javelina Canyon Trail is 1.7 miles with an easy to moderate climb. The next sets of trails are all between 9 and 15 miles: National Trail and Desert Classic Trail, which are moderate to difficult hikes. South Mountain Park opened in 1924 as a preserve for Phoenix. 13,000 acres were bought for the preserve, and then in 1935 the National Park Service developed a plan to improve the area with better trails and picnic areas.

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