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.
Must see things at South Mountain:
- 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)
At over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park dwarfs virtually all other
city parks in the United States. 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.
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.
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.” All sorts of locals tips in this handy guide.
Images of South Mountain – Phoenix, AZ. (Click any image to enlarge.)
Thinking of going? Tap the map: