hiking in the desert - scottsdale - phoenix arizona

Desperate to add some thrill-inducing twist to your Wild West plans? Lucky for you, Phoenix has a bucket load of exhilarating outdoor adventures awaiting exploration. Satisfy the adrenaline junkie within you with these top outdoor adventure activities in Phoenix, Arizona. From exploring the McDowell mountains on two wheels to pumping up for some off-road adventure in the Tonto National Forest, these activities will surely get your heart racing in no time.


Phoenix, Arizona is the capital and most populous city in the state. The metropolitan area spans 500 square miles and includes 24 different municipalities including Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe, and Goodyear. For many men it is simply a golf destination and for others a place to see some Cactus League spring training baseball. However, Phoenix is known for its year-round sun and fantastic outdoor activities available throughout the Valley of the Sun and even in the brutal heat of the summer there are plenty of awesome things to do that help make it an ideal destination for a guys trip

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking provides you with some adrenaline-pumping adventure in Phoenix. McDowell Mountains, located just northeast of Phoenix, Arizona, is a great place to explore the rugged beauty of the desert landscape. Trails of varying experience levels span the breadth of the desert for those who wish to experience some biking thrill. Explorers will love joining a guided Phoenix adventure tour to help plan out a biking adventure through the trails and get some exhilarating mountain bike experience.

With more than 700 miles of bike structure, this activity allows adventure seekers to witness the unique saguaro, the prickly pear cactuses, desert critters, and even the spring wildflowers. You can trail on some easy paths, such as the Charles M. Christiansen Memorial Trail on the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Those looking for a challenge can even take on the 4.8-mile Perl Charles Memorial Trail, offering a loop around the base of the Piestewa Peak landmark. There are some competitive tracks at Estrella Mountain, White Tank Mountain, and McDowell Mountain regional parks too.


Explore the beauty of Phoenix, Arizona, by hiking through its numerous trails. Known as the Mecca of urban hiking, Phoenix's mountains and open spaces are lined with established trail networks offering a breathtaking bird-eye view of the entire city and desert. No matter where you are in Phoenix, rest assured that you're just a short drive away from a great trail.

First off, there are easy trails for beginners, such as Double Butte Loop and Hole-in-the-Rock Trail in Papago Park, offering views of the oasis and an outlying city skyline. Moreover, the Desert Botanical Garden offers scenic beauty of the local flora. Medium-difficulty trails such as Hidden Valley via Mormon Trail in South Mountain Park/Preserve require hikers to squeeze through a crevice called the Fat Man's Pass. In contrast, Dixie Mountain Loop in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve offers fantastic views up-top.

Finally, the difficult trails like the Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain offer a spectacular 360-degree view of the city and adjoining desert. However, the most challenging trail is the Siphon Draw Trail in Lost Dutchman State Park. Embrace the hand-over-head rock faces as you conquer this trail to experience breathtaking views of the West.

Hot Air Ballooning

Take to the skies to experience the desert from a whole new perspective in a hot air balloon. That's right, Phoenix boasts the most number of flyable days per year, making it an all-time destination for some flying fun. Catch a glimpse of the rising or setting sun as you float your way through the desert skies.

This is surely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure offering panoramic views of the magnificent Sonoran Desert and glimpses of the desert wildlife and landscape. While sunset rides are only available in the winter, tourists can enjoy a sunrise ride all year round.


If you're looking for some fun in the waters, this wet desert offers a load of that, too. Have some fun in the sun with some kayaking, rafting, and paddle boarding in the Lower Salt River. You can even spot eagles and horses along the beach while you're at it.

Another splashing adventure to experience that even kids can enjoy is Tempe Town Lake. Enjoy hiking and biking paths, volleyball activities, and the mandatory water fun along the banks. Other scenic water recreation areas can be found in the Lake Pleasant Regional Park. You can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, and even picnicking here in the park.

Tubing On The Salt River

Tubing on the Salt River is another perfect activity for a guys trip. The Salt River offers scenic views with its shimmering waters, towering cliffs, and sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Tubing down the river is an adventure that brings a sense of thrill and excitement.

The rapids create a playful atmosphere that is sure to make any guys trip memorable. Additionally, the cool water temperature provides a refreshing break from the intense summer heat in Phoenix. Overall, tubing on the Salt River is an excellent way to bond with friends while experiencing the beauty of nature.


Catch some off-road adventure on canyons and old mining trails with beasts such as the 2022 Silverado ZR2. Off-roading allows for adrenaline-pumping fun and a chance to hit dirt on your wheels. One off-road trail to try near Phoenix is the Montana Mountain Trail. This trail offers access to some beautiful Arizona points and spectacular views.

Box Canyon is another stunner offering excellent views and wildlife. Though small in itself, you can connect it with different trails for a full-day off-road adventure. This way, your day will be filled with endless beauty no matter the path. Finally, Reno Path and Mt Ord Lookout are also top trails to experience off-roading. Both of these trails offer a taste of history for those interested.

Rock Climbing

Explore varied styles of stone and rock across the large desert city. In Arizona, you will find just the right mix of rock-climbing formations ideal for those who aren't afraid to take on this vertical challenge. Climb on the granite of the Pinnacle Peak and the McDowell mountains for an adventure of a lifetime.

Another spectacular bouldering structure you will find is in the South Mountain. Camelback also offers good structure, and climbers can choose any of these for some rock-climbing fun. Additionally, you may also be interested in traditional granite climbing available in North Scottsdale.

Horseback Riding

Get a chance to play cowboy in the desert with some horseback riding. This is a great opportunity for those who wish to take in the scenic beauty of Phoenix, Arizona, one moment at a time. Whether you wish to take guided tours in South Mountain Park or witness the tribal lands of American Indian Wranglers, horseback riding can help you achieve this stimulating experience.