See which AZ Wonders hidden gem of a hike got featured on

This whole obsession of mine to create an Arizona Bucket List and start experiencing all the amazing natural wonders in the Arizona started in 2013. That was when I visited the Grand Canyon with my family for the first time.

Mushroom shaped boulder in a sandy creekbed
This boulder in the Hidden Valley wash has been carved into a shape resembling a mushroom after thousands of years of erosion.
Man hiking through tunnel through boulders
Hiker passes through tunnel on Hidden Valley Loop of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, AZ

It was only after I began getting requests from people on social media for tips on how to find and explore some of these places that I decided to publish the Amazon bestselling Arizona Bucket List Adventure Guide & Journal. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

In July 2022, the blog editor for reached out to ask my opinion about the best hidden gem hiking trails in the Phoenix area. Although I’ve discovered dozens of world-class trails in Phoenix, one spot immediately came to mind: Hidden Valley in South Mountain Park.

Read the full post on Secrets Revealed: 17 Hidden Gems in Phoenix You Need to Check Out

You only have to scroll down to #5 to find the Hidden Valley hike. As noted in the Redfin post, “the moderate 3.4-mile hike features a cool rock tunnel, ancient petroglyphs, and great views of the city.”

Images carved into rock face
Thes etchings in rock faces known as petroglyphs remain as evidence of ancestral Hohokam Indians.
Map of Hidden Valley via Mormon Trail hike.

Did that little teaser get you’re attention? You’ll want to check out my detailed write-up with tips, maps and video:

Best short hike in Phoenix: Mormon Trail to Hidden Valley and Fat Man’s Pass in South Mountain Park

A funny thing happened as I read the Redfin article. I found myself thinking, “These aren’t hidden gems. I’ve been to most of them.”

The reality is ten years ago I knew nothing about any of them. And that’s the point of the article – to help people considering a move, or who recently moved, to Phoenix get acquainted with some of the great things this place has to offer.

If you like to hike, you’ll love the Arizona Hiking Guide I’ve put together.

When I first moved to Phoenix from the Denver area in 2012, I thought my most days of outdoor adventure were behind me. Boy was I wrong. I’ve been aggressively pursuing my Arizona Bucket List for all these years and I’m still chipping away at it.

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About the author

In 2014, Paul Fiarkoski went on a hiking trip to world-famous Havasupai Falls in the Grand Canyon. After three days of hiking and wading in the turquoise pools beneath 100-foot waterfalls, his perspective of Arizona changed forever. He created an Arizona bucket list and began checking places off.

Arizona Bucket List Adventure Guide & Journal includes his list of top 50 natural wonders.

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