Escape the Heat: The 7 Best Arizona Hiking Trails This Summer

Jul 14, 2021

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

by Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

If you’re like us, you don’t want to stop a favorite pastime of day hiking just because of a little 100-degree weather in Phoenix. Thankfully, our beautiful state has plenty of options when Phoenix heats up. Many of our patients prescribed physical therapy for a knee injury are also avid hikers and we often talk about our favorite hikes in the state during their sessions. When you’ve been serving the community as long as we have, that list becomes pretty robust. Luckily for you, we decided to compile the best Arizona hiking trails into this blog.

Payson, AZ1.5 hours from Phoenix
With Payson’s average summer highs around 90 degrees and its location inside the Tonto National Forest, it’s a perfect spot for hikers to visit in the summer.

Horton Creek hiking trail in Prescott Arizona.

  • Horton Creek Trail is a popular trail with a small elevation gain, perfect for a relaxing hike. The 6.7-mile, out-and-back trail features a running creek. Leashed dogs are welcome.
  • If you’re looking for a less-trafficked trail, see Canyon Trail is beloved by those in know. Dogs are allowed on a leash, and the 6.1-mile, the out-and-back trail is wooded and includes sights like streams, moss, and mushrooms.

Flagstaff, AZ2.25 hours from Phoenix
If you’re looking for multiple Arizona hiking options and a charming downtown filled with a surprising amount of highly-rated restaurants, Flagstaff is your stop. Did we mention the average summer highs are the lower 80s?

Sign showing the elevation of Mt. Humphry in Flagstaff Arizona.

  • Besides its endearing name, Fatman’s Loop Trail offers large boulders to marvel, aerial views of the city, and no shortage of trees. This 2.4-mile, loop trail is rated as moderate and located in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. Fido is welcomed on a leash.
  • If you want a challenge, Humphrey’s Peak is the highest point in Arizona. Enjoy views of the San Francisco Peaks — the mountain range in Flagstaff — and the surrounding landscape at 16,633 feet high. This 9.2-mile, the out-and-back trail has an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet and is rated as hard. Make sure you take precautions and stay abreast of any altitude sickness.

Mount Lemmon, AZ3.25 hours from Phoenix
While it may feel counterintuitive to head south when avoiding the summer heat, Mount Lemmon near Tucson offers a summer average high of around 74 degrees thanks to its elevation.

Top of Mount Lemon in Tucson Arizona.

  • Weave your way through the Butterfly Peak Natural Area and enjoy tree-lined paths and aerial views on this 4-mile loop trail. 

Eagar, AZ4 hours from Phoenix
Close to the New Mexico border, this area is as idyllic as it gets. Summer average highs are in the low 80s.

Photo of Mount Baldy trail in Eager Arizona.

  • Mount Baldy Trail is a 16.8-mile, out-and-back trail that is rated as difficult. But, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and catch your breath as you take in the aerial views and an overwhelming amount of green. Pups are allowed on a leash.

Monument Valley, AZ5 hours from Phoenix
Sure, this is a drive, but the views are incredibly unique and the average summer highs are the low 90s.

Photo of a trail in Monument Valley Arizona.

If you love to hike, you have zero excuses to hike year-round in Arizona! We hope this list of the best Arizona hiking trails keeps you busy this summer. If you find yourself in need of physical therapy for pain or an injury caused by hiking, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment. We’d love to help you get back on the trail.

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