Located in the heart of the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas, is Piestewa Peak. Piestewa Peak’s Summit Trail is one of the most heavily used hiking trails in the United States. Even with the crowds, this is a must do for any moderately experienced hiker.
Originally known as Squaw Peak, Squaw Tit Peak, Phoenix Mountain and Vinom Do’ag (its Pima name), Piestewa Peak was renamed for Lori Piestewa, who was a member of the Hopi Indian Tribe. She was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving in the U.S. Military, and the first woman serving in the U.S. Military to die in the Iraq War.
Enjoy Challenging Hikes at Piestewa Peak
The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is roughly 1.2 miles one way. The easy to moderate lower part of the trail soon becomes steeper and more difficult. Inexperienced hikers can hike the lower portions of the trail, then turn back. But not to worry, views are spectacular from all points on the trail.
The Peak itself is 2,680 feet high, second only to nearby Camelback Mountain. Piestewa Peak is part of the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. This area along with the adjacent Dreamy Draw Recreation Area act as entrances to the surrounding desert, with miles of desert trails and approximately fifteen miles of interconnecting trails. If the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is too crowded for you, there are many other trails, of varying difficulties, in these parks to choose from.
Piestewa Peak in Phoenix is known for its abundance of colorful wildflowers that bloom in early spring but is also home to the typical lower Sonoran Desert flora and desert wildlife. Almost all varieties of Arizona cacti can be found here, as well as mesquite, desert lavender and giant sage trees. And you can be on the lookout for many varieties of snakes and lizards including the western diamondback. Also, on hand are coyotes, bobcats, kit fox, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, hawks, turkey vultures and Gambel’s quail.
The best time of year to walk, hike or run Piestewa Peak in Phoenix is from October through March. The trail is open daily from 5am to 11pm. You can find the peak at 2800 East Squaw Peak Drive in Phoenix. And because of its location, it is close to all the Phoenix and Scottsdale attractions you could possibly need to fill your time. Indoor or outdoor, you will be able to find something worth doing nearby. Another plus is that all the great Phoenix and Scottsdale restaurants and bars are close too!