Piestewa Peak Park
Toward the top of our Phoenix must-see list, you will find Piestewa Peak, the second-highest point in the Phoenix Mountains, after Camelback Mountain.
Located within the Phoneix Mountain Preserve, the Piestewa Peak Recreation Area serves as a 'gateway to diverse desert landscape', featuring dozens of miles of multi-use trails, gorgeous city views, and insight into local flora and fauna.
Historically, the Piestewa Peak area was used for mining and grazing, offering the area a plethora of natural resources. The rock is pre-Cambrian and the peak itself is 1,176 feet tall. During your visit, you will be able to hike, birdwatch, and wildlife watch. There are several different trails ranging in difficulty, some popular ones including Freedom Trail, Summit Trail, Nature Trail, Ruth Hamilton Trail, Hogave Trail, and our personal favorite choice, Quartz Ridge Trail.
The Quartz Ridge Trail crosses the rocky Quartz Ridge to show off beautiful Sonoran desert scenery filled with desert wildflowers, views of downtown Phoenix, and even views of Camelback Mountain. This trail is 1.7 miles and has an elevation change of 500 feet, offering up a somewhat difficult hike to the very top. It typically takes 2 hours to get the top.