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Day Hiking near Mesa, AZ

12:40 a.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I am new to hiking, and new to the area of Mesa, AZ..... Are there any suggestions regarding some good places to hike during the day?   Thank you.

4:24 a.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Welcome Zink2727,

Sedona is not too far away north on 89 and there are plenty of hiking areas there. Also look into the Superstitions and Camelback Mountain near there. I have never hiked down there but have heard it is very nice.

Contact me at cpatflagaz@yahoo.com and I will give you the name/email of a hiking friend in Phoenix who knows the area well, he may also become a hiking friend down there. I live in Flagstaff, AZ. Put "Dayhiking near Mesa/Trailspace" in the subject line.

Also go to Yahoo groups and search for hiking groups and clubs in the area you live. Many cities have hiking clubs that get together weekends and such to do hikes.

Here you go, I looked for you:

Phoenix_Hiking_Club : Discussion list dedicated to hiking in Phoenix and the state of Arizona

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Phoenix_Hiking_Club/

11:10 p.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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How far from Mesa are you thinking of venturing?  Within 30m of Mesa are the Phoenix mountain parks (Piestewa Peak, Camelback Peak, South Mountain, Usery Pass) and the Superstition Wilderness.  These alone can keep you busy for days on end.

A bit further out, within a couple hours, are Sedona (as Gary suggests), the Mazatzal Wilderness, and the Santa Catalina's (near Tucson). 

Even further are the San Francisco Peaks (near Flagstaff) and Grand Canyon. 

A good resource is hikearizona.com, also go to REI and pick up one or more Arizona trail guides.

Our beautiful state is full of hiking opportunities.

1:22 a.m. on November 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Go up the Apache Trail to Canyon Lake & Apache Lake - there are plenty of trails in the Superstitions.  One of my favorites is the Reavis Ranch Trail, although that is more of a backpacking/overnight trip.  There are some great sites deep in the Superstitions away from the ATV'ers. 

You can also head northeast towards Payson and hike around Saddle Mountain and see some awesome old mines & mills, and you are up high above the ATV/horseback riders. The Barnhardt trail is also a great out-and-back with amazing views, lots of surprise switch-backs, and its fairly busy (normally 5-10 hiking groups on the trail on the weekends).  The Mazatzals are an amazing area to hike.

Sedona is a bit too crowded, and you don't need to go that far.

Two of the better books I found (at REI) are: "Day Trips with a Splash" Swimming Holes of the Southwest by Pancho Doll  and 100 Classic Hikes in Arizona by Scott S Warren.

Just a warning about the Mazatzals and Superstitions:  when its 100 down in Phoenix, it can be as cold as 50/60 up in the mountains... so pack for extreme temperature changes, and thunderstorms tend to roll in QUICK.... so hike safe!!

8:47 p.m. on November 5, 2010 (EDT)
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A lot has changed since I grew up in Phoenix (to be more correct, I was born in Phoenix, spent most of my first 12 years growing up in Sacaton, moved into Phoenix for 3 years, then over to Calif). My  mother moved back to Phoenix, living her last years in a retirement home in Paradise Valley, which was waaayyyyy out in the desert, and a frequent camping and hiking area for my Boy Scout troop. But we visited my mother several times a year, so I can recommend some places (when I was growing up, Mesa was a distant village, but is now almost downtown Phoenix, the change from 150,000 people in 1950 to the 4 million or so in the Valley of the Sun now).

As mentioned above, there are a number of parks offering interesting and challenging hikes in the area. Camelback has several trails, the most popular being from a park that literally used to be Barry Goldwater's back yard (entered at the Camel's Head, north side). The Camel's Head area is great rock climbing, and is where I got introduced to rock climbing (if you are into climbing). Squaw Peak (name was changed because of Political Correctness, but I don't know the new name) has a challenging trail, with other trails in that park. The Superstitions have a number of multiday hikes if you want, but plenty of day hikes. South Mountain is a bit over-run (at least the last time I was there). Four Peaks area has some good day hikes plus backpacking (that used to be a prime hunting area during deer season). Pinnacle Peak is another. Papago Park has a really interesting botanical garden.

As mentioned above, there are a couple of good books, which you can pick up in the Phoenix REI (located in the Paradise Valley shopping mall, right where we used to camp and backpack, northeastern part of Phoenix, north of Scottsdale, where my sister lives).

The Prescott and Flagstaff areas to the north and the Tucson area to the south are a bit of a drive for a day hike, but do offer great hikes from reasonable campsites. A bit farther to the southeast is the Chiricahuas. Also, some of the Native American lands offer great hiking, though you generally have to arrange for a permit in advance. We spent a lot of time on the White Apache lands, as well as the Navajo Nation lands.

You do have to pick the time of year, and as noted, with the large differences in elevation, there can be a big difference in temperature in the Mesa (Phoenix) area and someplace like Flagstaff or on the Mogollon Rim.

April 20, 2014
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