America’s Largest City Park: South Mountain in Phoenix

Just south of downtown Phoenix rests South Mountain Park –
the largest city-run park in America. With access points in six zip codes, South Mountain Park is a recreational oasis for residents and visitors alike. Runners, hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders all call South Mountain their mountain.

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About South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is the largest city-managed park in the country. It encompasses roughly 17,000 acres. By comparison, Vail Resort is the largest ski resort in the U.S. at 5,300 acres.

There are actually three mountain ranges within the park, with the highest peak rising some 1,600 feet above Phoenix proper. The park’s main trail, National Trail, spans the entire 14-mile spine of two mountains within the park.

Must see things in South Mountain Park:

  • TV and radio towers (visible from almost anywhere in Phoenix)
  • Dobbins & Buena Vista Lookout Points
  • Hidden Valley
  • Fat Man’s Pass
  • Chinese Wall
  • The Sanctuary at Telegraph Pass
  • Goat Hill
  • Gila River Valley (from Pyramid or National Trail)

Although thousands of people whiz by the foot of South Mountain each day on Phoenix roadways, far fewer actually take time to explore the wonders that await. Those that make the effort are rewarded with ever-changing views on the mountains and around the valley. Some have discovered that South Mountain offers one of the best vantage points around for watching 4th of July fireworks.

Plan your visit to South Mountain Park with this interactive map created by the City of Phoenix:

Local’s tip: You can drive to one of the highest spots of the South Mountain Preserve by taking Central Ave all the way south from Phoenix. Exception: roads in the park are closed the last Sunday of each month for “Silent Sunday.” Find plenty more locals tips in this handy guide.

Images of South Mountain Park – Phoenix, AZ.

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This cluster of transmission towers sit on one of the highest points in South Mountain Park, distinguishing it as a notable reference at night that can be viewed from almost any spot in the Phoenix area.
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This unique spiral shaped petroglyph dating back about 1,500 years can be discovered near the top of Pyramid Trail.
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A fireplace and foundation of a former dwelling intrigue hikers who set out on foot from the 19th Ave and Chandler Blvd trailhead.
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This section of National Trail runs approximately 14 miles across the top of three peaks all contained in South Mountain Park in the City of Phoenix.
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Beautiful Ocotillo (tall plants with orange flowers) and Brittlebush (yellow flowers) grace this section of National Trail, which is also guarded by the iconic soldier-like Saguaro cactus Arizona is famous for.

Thinking of going? Tap the map to get there:

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