Hayden Butte Preserve
January 2, 2019
An urban park with fabulous views, the Hayden Butte Preserve is located at East Rio Salado Parkway and South Mill Avenue overlooking Tempe, Arizona. The butte has a long history, from its historic connections with local Native Americans to more current ties to Arizona State University.
Scenic Views from Hayden Butte Preserve
Over 500 petroglyphs made by the prehistoric Hohokam (the Four Southern Tribes of Arizona) between A.D. 750 and 1450 remain today. The Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community considers Hayden Butte as a sacred site. The butte was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2011.
Locally known as ‘A’ mountain in Tempe, an ‘A’ appeared (for Arizona State University) in 1938. A new steel and concrete ‘A’, measuring over 60-inches top to bottom, was built in 1955 after vandals destroyed the previous letter. The ASU Sun Devil Stadium sits in the ‘saddle’ between the butte’s two peaks. One side of the butte had to be partially removed for the stadium.
Because it is now a preserve, hikers need to keep to the trails. There are several trails and you can hike up to the “A” or continue to the top. The closer to the top, the steeper the climb. But there are plenty of side paths and benches for taking a break and taking in the amazing views of the city. This is a short but very popular hiking trail. The trail is 0.9 miles one way, and it’s an out-and-back route (really an up-and-down route), with an elevation gain of 278 feet.
Once you have climbed the butte, there are still many things in Tempe to occupy your time, many located within a mile from the butte. Here are several very nearby things to consider.
If you want to climb instead of hike, go on over to the Phoenix Rock Gym. Bring your own gear or rent some. With over 17,000 square feet of climbing surface and 30-foot walls, this is the perfect place to practice your rock-climbing skills. If you want to continue hiking, Papago Park and South Mountain Preserve are a little farther away, but still within a few miles of Hayden Butte Preserve, and offer many trails of varying difficulty, all with amazing views.
The Tempe Marketplace is a destination spot for both locals and visitors alike and is within a mile of the butte. With over 1.3 million square feet of space and over 100 stores, restaurants and bars, you will be able to get some indoor hiking done. Or visit a distillery or brewery. There are several located within a mile from the butte – Adventure Stills, Four Peaks and the Sleepy Dog Brewing Company just to name a few.
Climbing the ‘A’ mountain in Tempe is one of those things you need to do when you visit Tempe. Try the climb in the early morning and watch the sun rise over Tempe and the surrounding areas. A great memory well-worth the climb.