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When you think of walkable cities, it’s likely Phoenix isn’t the first to come to mind. After all, our metropolitan city spans over 9,000 square miles. Walking that kind of distance could take a while, but lucky for us, we have nature preserves, lakes, and trails right in our backyard.
And as we grow to be more health-conscious, you can literally see all fit, fun, and particularly delicious reasons our city is on the up-and-up. So get out and explore a new area with our list of walks to take in the Valley of the Sun!
Tempe Town Lake is one of the best places to take in Phoenix’s famous sunsets. And if you’re looking for this to be a more romantic walk, the bridge often has lights that make a beautiful reflection off the water at night. Though, during the day, you’re bound to cross Tempe Beach Park, a place for concerts, festivals, and races. Need some directions? Mill Avenue is a great place to start or end this walk.
This 1,185-acre park in the North Valley is bustling year-round — yes, even on the scorching hot days. That’s because its trails vary from flat to staircase-steep (feel the burn!). No matter the day, you’ll see people strolling with their kids, running, biking, and even horseback riding. And if you’re feeling like taking the steep route, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the city.
We love this trail because it makes a giant loop — no more doubling back on sights you’ve already seen. The terrain is flat but there are several detours if you feel like adding in a hill climb. Big plus for your walk? The trail is dog-friendly, so don’t forget your fur baby.
Living in the concrete jungle means that, sometimes, you need to recharge by connecting with nature. We have just the place. This 110-acre preserve in Gilbert is loaded with ponds, marshlands, and wildlife. The best news? The heavy vegetation provides plenty of shady spots — it's so necessary on a hot day!
Encanto Park is one of those places where you could easily spend your whole day. This 222-acre outdoor oasis has a little bit of everything, including a nature trail, lagoon, and even an amusement park. So, lace up those sneakers and get to exploring.
Stroll under palm trees and take in the beautiful flowers at Scottsdale’s Waterfront Promenade. You’ll be near tons of shops, restaurants, and salons if you need a break from this mile-ish-long walk. And while this isn’t an enormous area, you could definitely turn a short walk into a whole-day thing.
Taking a walk in Phoenix often means waiting for crosswalk signs at major intersections. That’s why we love Scottsdale’s Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt, offering more than 24 grade-separated crossings. That means less tapping your foot waiting for the ‘walk’ symbol. The Greenbelt itself is an oasis in Scottsdale; the 11 miles of green space features parks, lakes, paths, and golf courses. See you out there!
Checking out the “Hole in the Rock” at Papago Park is basically a prerequisite for living in Phoenix. While the trail is only 0.3 mile, it is one of the best spots in the Valley to catch a sunset. The best part about this easy walk is you can bring along anyone including small kids and dogs. And definitely combine this with a picnic in Papago Park for the complete experience!
No matter where you reside in the Valley, it’s likely you are near the Arizona Canal. This system traverses 39 miles east of Scottsdale through Phoenix and into Peoria. A half-mile stretch near downtown Scottsdale alone has art, landscaped walkways, and access to shops and restaurants. Fitt Tip: a stop at O.H.S.O. Brewery or Chelsea’s Kitchen guarantees a good walk.
This path is a favorite among Phoenicians. For one, it holds some history that has remained unchanged for nearly a century. Secondly, it is about three times the width of a normal sidewalk, allowing for traffic to flow both ways. This is important since this is a popular place to walk, run, and bicycle (passing is a breeze!). Even in the summer, it remains busy under the shade of ash and olive trees.
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