South Mountain Park

Written by on December 3, 2014 in AZ Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on South Mountain Park

Located just south of the downtown area of Phoenix, South Mountain Park (17,000 acres) is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the country. There are 51 miles of primary trails that allow horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. The trails range from beginners to advanced sports enthusiasts as they range from the desert flat areas up the steep canyons to the top or South Mountain. For those who just want to capture the view, the 5.5 scenic Summit Road will take you to Dobbins Lookout and stunning panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert and the Phoenix Metro area.

The park was created during the depression when 4,000 men employed by the Civilian Conservation Corp. These men built over 40 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, 18 buildings, 15 ramadas, 134 fire pits, 30 water facets, water dams, and other features within the park..

Phoenix is proud to support more metro parks than any other city in the U.S. The open, undeveloped desert areas are havens for all types of bird and animal species, so take care on the trials. It’s not unusual to run into the rattlesnake sunning itself, or a coyote on the hunt in the dawn light.

Long ago, South Mountain was home to the Hohokam prehistoric people. Their rock art, “petroglyphs,” are tucked away all over the park. The images represent animals, birds and people, geometric designs and shapes. The Hohokam lived in the valley from 450 to 1450 AD and while the tribes didn’t leave here, it was a scared spot where they hunted, gathered plants and held ceremonies.

There are plenty of things to do in the park beside hike and bike. Ponderosa Stables, a private company, is located just outside the S. Central Ave. entrance. Visitors can choose from a variety of horseback rides. South Mountain Park offers two ramadas that can be rented for special occasions, as well as numerous picnic spots to choose from. The South Mountain Education Center is a great place to learn more about the area. Once a month, bikers, rollerskaters, wheel chair riders and strollers take to the roadways closed to motor vehicles. The events are called Silent Sundays are extremely popular.

Please note: Summit Road and the Education Center have been closed for a few month during the winter of 2014-2015 for repairs. The summer Monsoon was hard on infrastructure this year.

South Mountain Park
10919 S. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85042
Phone: (602) 262-7393
https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain

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