Place Name: Maricopa County
Place Description: State: Arizona
Elevation: 2,606 Feet
Prominence: 1,176 Feet
Elevation Gain: 1,215 Feet
Lists: Southern Arizona Hiking Club List
Fun Hike In The Middle Of The City
Piestewa Peak is prominent peak in the Phoenix, AZ area and part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.
- Great views
- Easy trail to follow
- Fun hike
- Lots of people
- Would be brutal in summer
- Parking is tough
When I found out that I was going to Scottsdale, I immediately pulled up the Peak Bagger App. One of the first peaks that caught my eye was Piestewa Peak. With over 1,000 feet of prominence and a short trail, this quickly became a must-do. I set out with my son to hike this on Thanksgiving.
Parking was at a premium by 9 a.m. and it took us awhile to find a spot. The weather was comfortable, but rain clouds were all over the area. Much different than most of the trail reviews I had read about this peak. We started at the trail from the Phoenix Mountains Preserve Parking Lot.
The trail is very easy to follow, basically you just need to follow the guy in front of you. The trail gains 1,200 feet but never felt overly steep to me. We did have to stop a lot to either let a runner pass by or because of jams. There are a lot of steps throughout the trail and couple of narrow spots. As we gained the final few feet, the trail turns to rock.
After an hour on the trail, we reached the summit area. On the left, there was a rocky area where about 8 people were hanging out. That is not the true summit. If you look across you can see the higher rocky crag. On this day there were about 5 people up there. Attaining the true summit requires a straight forward class 2 climb up the rock.
This wasn’t super hard and I felt comfortable allowing my 8-year old son do it with me. Once on top, we tagged the benchmark, took some photos, and soaked in the views.
The 360-degree views of the Valley of the Sun are fantastic. Camelback Mountain looked awesome to the east and I really wish we had time to climb it. To the northwest we took in views of North Mountain, Shaw Butte, and Lookout Mountain.
The Final Word
Traveling down was pretty easy, the most difficult part was dodging people on their way up and passing slower hikers on the way down. Despite the crowds, Piestewa Peak is a fun hike and a must-do if in the area. The folks that live in the area are lucky to have such cool trails so close by.