When you are an avid runner, you don’t want to have to give up your regular training when you travel.
Therefore, you are going to be wondering whether there are going to be appropriate running trails at your destination.
Thankfully, you can explore plenty of amazing running trails while staying in and around Phoenix.
This guide will look at some of the most beautiful and challenging running trails in the Phoenix area that allow you to keep up with your running schedule while traveling.
15 Best Running Trails In Phoenix
If you are looking for a running route that is moderately challenging, the Hidden Valley Trail Via Mormon Trail is just what you need.
This is a loop trail that covers 5.8 km. The total elevation gain is 282 m. This trail is open all year round.
However, it can get exceptionally hot during the summer months so make sure you have enough water with you.
The trail can get busy with other hikers and runners. However, it isn’t recommended to stray far from the trail.
If you want a slightly longer trail in Phoenix, the Mormon Loop to National Trail loop is perfect. At 7.6 km, it is a reasonable length for a vacation run. The elevation gain is 356 m, but it isn’t too steep.
This loop is considered to be moderately challenging. At a casual running pace, it takes an average of 2 and a half hours.
However, it can be completed in less time than this. You will need to keep an eye out for bikers and snakes during your run.
The freedom trail is a stunning running trail that takes you in a loop around the Phoenix mountains.
Although the trail is only 5.8 km in length, it is considered to be a challenging route. Because of the challenging terrain, it takes an average of just over 2 hours to complete at a casual pace.
It is very easy to stray from the path on this trail so make sure you have GPS with you.
Another stunning route that takes you around the Phoenix Mountains is the Piestewa Peak and Freedom Loop.
This route incorporates part of the Freedom Trail and is 7.2 km in length. This is considered a challenging route which is perfect for pushing your training a little bit.
There are also areas for rock climbing along the trail if you want to change things up. There are no dogs allowed on this trail so you have to leave your pup at home.
If loop trails aren’t really your thing, the Quartz Ridge trail is a simple out & back route. The total distance of the trail is 5.1 km and is considered to be moderately challenging.
The elevation of the route is only 190 m which makes it nice and easy for runners.
The stunning trail with all its amazing views is open all year round. Parts of the route can be rocky so runners should be careful to avoid ankle injuries.
If you are looking for a set trail that offers you plenty of options for exploration, the Javelina Canyon and Ridgeline Loop trail is for you.
This is a 6 km loop that is narrow and seems to cover a lot more ground than that. A unique thing about this trail is that it allows horseback riding.
This means that you will need to keep an eye out for horses on your run. There are plenty of merging trails on this route but they shouldn’t be attempted unless you have adequate water.
If you are looking for a running trail that offers incredible mountain views, this is the trail for you. The loop covers 7.4 km with a decent elevation of 226 m.
The trail actually goes over the top of Dixie Mountain which guarantees amazing views of Phoenix. Despite covering a mountain, this trail is very popular with runners, hikers, and horseback riders.
The elevation is made up of small ups and downs rather than one big incline.
If you only have time for a short out & back trail, the Shaw Butte via Shaw Butte Trailhead is just what you need. At only 4.5 km it can be completed in a short time even at a slow pace.
The trail is open all year round so can fit into any trip. The elevation is consistent throughout the trail so it is uphill going out and downhill coming back. The trail gets hot in the summer so bring plenty of water.
If even 4 km is too long to fit into your tight schedule, the North Mountain National Trail is for you.
This fun, short trail is only 2.7 km long. It is perfect for a quick run to get your blood pumping in the morning. The elevation is only 106 m and the loop is incredibly convenient.
Because it is so short, this trail can get extremely busy with other runners and hikers. You can bring your dog but they must be leashed.
If the North Mountain National Trail is still too long to fit into your schedule, or you want a shorter run, this is the trail for you.
The Lookout Mountain Summit Trail is a short out & back trail at only 1.4 km. The elevation is only 143 m which makes it a relatively easy route although it can be rocky.
Despite being an out & back, there are twists and turns so GPS can be helpful.
For a more reasonable run, the Dobbins Lookout via East Mineral Road is perfect. At 5.5 km, it is perfect for an average run. It is an out & back route that provides amazing views and some local wildlife.
At a casual pace, the route takes an average of two hours to complete and is moderately challenging. The best thing is that there are amazing facilities at the start of the trail.
For a longer run during your trip, the National to Hidden Valley to Mormon Loop is for you. As the name suggests, it combines three different trails into one long loop.
The route is 9.7 km with a 256 m elevation gain. On average, it takes about 2 hours at a moderate pace. Although the trail is open all year round, the best times to visit are between November and April due to lower temperatures.
If you want to keep up your endurance but don’t want to spend all your time training, the Marcos de Niza and Prima could be just what you need.
This loop trail is only 2.7 km with an elevation gain of 101 m. Because it is such a short loop it can be completed in around half an hour at a moderate pace.
Because this is such a short accessible trail it can get very busy but will be quieter during early daylight hours.
14. Big Butte Loop
For runners that enjoy a simple, easy run while they travel, Big Butte Loop is the trail you need.
At only 3.5 km with an elevation gain of only 41 m, this is an easy route to run when you are in vacation mode.
Even at a leisurely pace, this route can be completed in 40 minutes. The trail is near attractions such as the zoo which makes it the perfect way to start or end your day.
15. Pyramid Trail
For a more substantial run, the Pyramid trail is ideal. It is an out & back route that covers 9.7 km.
It has a 378 m elevation gain. At the top, you can run along the ridge and experience amazing views of the Phoenix desert.
There is also plenty of local wildlife to experience along the way. The trail can get very hot during the day so make sure you bring enough water.
There are so many amazing running trails around Phoenix that offer stunning views of the desert.
There are varying degrees of challenge with the trails that are available so there is something for everyone of all abilities.
Each trail has something unique to offer runners, and multiple trails can be combined together to make a more challenging workout.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Running Routes in Downtown Phoenix?
While there are no extensive running trails within the downtown Phoenix area, there are some options for runners looking for routes in the city center. Here are a few suggestions:
- Margaret T. Hance Park: Located in downtown Phoenix, Hance Park offers a paved jogging path that circles the park. It’s a popular spot for runners looking for a convenient and accessible place to run.
- Arizona Canal Path: The Arizona Canal Path runs through the heart of Phoenix, offering a paved multi-use trail that extends for miles. You can access the path from various points downtown and enjoy a scenic run along the canal.
- Encanto Park: Encanto Park, near downtown Phoenix, features a 1.5-mile paved pathway around its lagoon. It’s a pleasant location for a run, with beautiful views and green surroundings.
- Steele Indian School Park: Located just north of downtown, Steele Indian School Park has a paved loop trail that encircles the park. It offers a convenient option for runners looking for a place to exercise near the city center.
While these options may not be as extensive as some of the larger trails outside the downtown area, they allow you to get your miles in while enjoying urban scenery and nearby amenities.
Additionally, Phoenix hosts several running events and races throughout the year, such as the Phoenix Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, and various charity runs.