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Piestewa Peak

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Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail

In the Valley of the Sun, Piestewa Peak stands tall and prominent. At 2,608 feet, this popular landmark is the favorite hiking location for people looking for great views, a bit of exercise, or just a family outing. About half a million people tread its paths every year, making it the second most hiked trail after the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail. And because of its prime location near to both Phoenix and Scottsdale, hikers find it easy to access and a source of a leisurely activity that they can do at any time of the day.

Before You Start

Named after war hero Lori Piestewa who died in the line of duty, the Piestewa Peak is one hiking challenge that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whichever trail you choose, you should be aware that the temperature can reach three digits in the area under the sweltering sun. This means that the trail difficulty will go up one level in these harsh conditions. There’s also an enforced ban on open fires as well as smoking outside of enclosed vehicles. These rules cover all parks and mountain preserves in the area.

Piestewa Peak Freedom Trail

At 3.7 miles in length, this is the longer of the two trails on the Piestewa Peak. It is also the most difficult of the two. Temperature aside, the trail has some rocky sections that would make for good cardio exercise indeed. As the trail winds up from the base of the mountain you may encounter different wildlife, including coyotes, kit foxes, ground squirrels, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, and bobcats. At some point, this trail crisscrosses the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail. Keep your camera ready to snap some breathtaking pictures of the Phoenix urban area. Make sure to get your water supply from the drinking fountain at the trailhead.

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail

This out and back trail offers an amazing panoramic view of the whole Phoenix metropolitan area. It is a bit shorter than the Freedom Trail and is not as difficult. That doesn’t mean that it is easy either. You can expect a steep and jagged trail with a few switch backs. The ground alternates between gravel and rock at times, so proper footwear is advised. Also, make sure to check the weather and get your fill of water at the base of the trail before you start your hike. Piestewa Peak is one of the most sought-after hiking places in the whole of Arizona.

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