North Mountain National Hiking Trail
★★☆☆☆ Moderate / Phoenix:
From sunrise to sunset, this short city hike rocks the views! Located just minutes from downtown Phoenix, the North Mountain National Hiking Trail provides easy access, unusually good parking and epic 360 views. You’ll find locals cramming in a quick workout – hiking, running and even pushing strollers up and down the paved pathway. Take the hike at sunset to catch the area’s gorgeously glowing skies from the trail’s umpteen overlooks.
TRAILHEAD: 10600 North 7TH ST., PHOENIX • DIFFICULTY: MODERATE (difficult in spots) • DISTANCE: 0.72 MILES Each Way (1.44 Miles RT) • APPROX. TIME: 1-2 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: 615 FEET (44 STORIES) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 216-245 RT • BEST TIME OF YEAR: OCT. – APRIL • PETS: YES • KID FRIENDLY: Not so much • FACILITIES: YES • FEES: NONE
Even though the length of the North Mountain National Hiking Trail is less than one-mile each way, its notable 20-degree angle gets the heart a-pumpin’ right from the get go! Kicking off from the trailhead, the hike’s first fifth-mile ascends a natural rocky section. This brief stretch zig-zags upwards to where it connects to a wide, paved pathway.
The North Mountain National Hiking Trail is paved from this early intersection to the summit – albeit at the same pant-inducing angle. Numerous overlooks punctuate the trail, each offering its own unique urban view. Peering south, Central Avenue spills straight outwards to the skyscrapers downtown. While in other directions, the city’s suburbs and distant mountains stretch to the horizon.
A number of satellite towers rest on the summit of the North Mountain National Hiking Trail. From the peak, hikers can choose to either descend on the paved path they hiked up on, or veer left around the towers and descend on the remaining rough rocky trail that loops back to the trailhead (see downloadable map below). The distance is equal either way. Hikers pushing strollers should definitely stick with the paved option!
Note: There is a teeny parking lot located on the southbound side of 7th Street, just a few blocks north of the larger main trailhead parking lot. The upward portion of North Mountain National Hiking Trail is fully paved from this access point. However, with only 12 spots, this teeny lot is typically full.
North Mountain and the North Mountain National Hiking Trail are part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve: a city parks system that includes Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain, Shaw Butte, Dreamy Draw, Lookout Mountain, Papago Park and the Sonoran Desert Preserve.
Click here to download a trail map. The North Mountain National Hiking Trail is green, and labled 44.
Directions From the intersection of AZ 51 and Northern Avenue / exit 7 (in Phoenix), take Northern Avenue west for 1.52 miles to 7th Street. Turn right / north onto 7th Street, Drive 1.5 miles on 7th Street to Peoria Avenue. Turn left / west onto Peoria. The North Mountain National Hiking Trail parking lot is located on the right side of Peoria Avenue, right after the turn from 7th Street.
- Dayhike, Overlook, Paved, Pet Friendly, Phoenix, Short, Views
- November 21, 2015