Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Hiking around Phoenix

It's 10am EDT, and you are ready to go out and do something ... but the local time is 6am. Well ... take a hike! Or a walk, if you prefer.

Sauntering around Copper Square & Patriot's Square Park, the Civic Center or Arizona Center is very safe and secure. Lots of interesting sights, including the outdoor sculpture garden at the Heard Museum, if you are willing to taxi or hike out that way.

Phoenix has a number of city parks with genuine green grass, but Encanto Park, near Encanto Boulevard and 7th Avenue is one of the largest. It also offers boat rentals, a Children's Amusement Park, and an Exercise Course. Encanto is a safe place to walk or sit; however, as with any downtown park, a small transient population is just about guaranteed.

South Mountain Preserve (16,500 acres) is bit further away but considerably larger and wilder, with a dozen hiking and riding trails. Bikers and horseback riders can rent here. A recent article gives more information.

Phoenix Mountain Preserve (7,000 acres) offers yet more trails scattered around the city, ranging from road-like to slide-rock slippery slopes.

Finally, if you really want to go up in the world, climb the Seven Summits of Phoenix!

Wear sunscreen; the locals will also have on a hat and sunglasses.

Avoid hiking between noon to 2:00pm. Prime time on the trail is 5:00am to 10:00am.

Leave the wildlife alone. Give critters the right of way (if you are lucky enough to see any!) Note that rattlesnakes find nice deep cool dens during the summer. You may see javelina, coyotes, birds (images) or lizards (images).

Bring water - at minimum, one pint for every hour. Dehydration leads to headaches, dizziness and nausea. Humidity runs around 5%; moisture just evaporates off hikers, faster than they realize.
The Heard does indeed have a lovely sculpture garden, but it's several miles north of the CC and downtown...should be its own trip. The Museum is fantastic, the gift shop incredible, and the cafe yummy. Check at the Hospitality Booth for more information.
I live in a small town, and I am visitor to Phoenix, but do not feel
>unsafe walking around, especially in the day with a friend. Or at
>night espceially when a ball game lets out or other "crowd " activities.
Anywhere to rent & ride bicycles?
Bike Rentals
Where - most mountain trails allow biking. And Phoenix is flat, with lots of bike trails.

I recommend Arizona Outback Adventures, which takes reservations, has complimentary helmets, and delivers anywhere in the Valley of the Sun. Prices vary depending on what type of bike you need.

Frommer's mentions some places to rent bikes - Biking

For general Arizona Biking information, go to GABA
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