By Kate Siber
South Mountain Park
At 17,000 acres, South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the world, a veritable wilderness within the city of Phoenix. Javelinas and coyotes prowl the 58 miles of trails studded with saguaros, spindly ocotillos, and cholla cacti that bloom lipstick-pink in spring.
Get Hiking: Park at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and wander a nest of well-mapped trails, or tackle all or part of the 14.3-mile National Trail, which leads to spectacular lookouts on South Mountain over Phoenix and Camelback Mountain, another classic local summit hike.
Après Hike: For more views without the work, head down the street to Rustler’s Rooste, a mountaintop restaurant at the nearby Arizona Grand Resort. Watch the city lights blink on over a dinner of chili and mesquite-broiled steak before two-stepping to a live country-western band.
Photograph by Brian Leddy