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Top Barrier-Free Hiking Spots in Greater Phoenix

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Amputee Man Spending Time In Nature

Phoenix: A Hiker’s Paradise

Phoenix is widely celebrated as a premier hiking destination, and for good reason. The enchanting Sonoran Desert is not just a sight to behold from afar but an accessible experience close to the city’s heart. What might come as a surprise to many is the abundance of barrier-free trails and paths welcoming everyone to embrace the city’s natural beauty.

Urban Paths

Desert Botanical Garden: A 140-acre wonder showcasing arid plants, from towering saguaros to delicate blooms, with over 50,000 plant displays along five thematic trails. This vibrant space also hosts art installations and cultural events (1201 N. Galvin Parkway).

Papago Park and Papago West Park: Known for the Hole in the Rock formation, this area offers trails of varying surfaces, encircling the distinct sandstone buttes (625 N. Galvin Parkway).

Japanese Friendship Garden: An authentic 3.5-acre Japanese garden featuring over 1,500 tons of hand-picked rock, stone footbridges, and a colorful koi pond, all accessible via paved paths (1125 N. Third Ave).

Tempe Town Lake/Tempe Beach Park: A 7.5-mile paved trail encircles this urban lake, offering spots for art appreciation, fishing, and relaxation (80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe).

Canal Trails: With 180 miles of accessible paths, the canal system, including Arizona Canal and Grand Canal, offers a unique urban exploring experience.

Steele Indian School Park: A 72-acre park featuring a paved perimeter path and various amenities, located right next to a Valley Metro Rail station (300 E. Indian School Road).

Nature Walks

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area: A 600-acre area with paved trails meandering through a bird paradise along the Salt River (2439 S. Central Ave. | 641 W. Lower Buckeye Road).

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch: Offering flat dirt trails around seven ponds and a concrete trail around Water Ranch Lake, this 110-acre preserve is a haven for bird watchers (2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert).

Barrier-Free Nature Trail, Reach 11 Recreation Area: A partially paved 0.75-mile interpretive trail, ideal for observing local flora and fauna (19226 N. Tatum Blvd).

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: State’s oldest botanical garden with a variety of trails, including new walking paths through the Wallace Desert Garden (37615 E. Arboretum Way, Superior).

Mountain Trails

Judith Tunell Accessible Trail, South Mountain Park and Preserve: Features two 0.5-mile hard-surface loops with educational signage (10919 S. Central Ave.).

Skip Rimsza Paseo, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve: Offers paved trails with gentle inclines, suitable for all (1600 E. Sonoran Desert Drive).

Penny Howe Barrier Free Trail, North Mountain Park: A 0.3-mile paved trail with interpretive signs (10608 N. Seventh St.).

Merkle Barrier-Free Trail, Usery Mountain Regional Park: A 1-mile path with hard-packed gravel offering scenic views (3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa).

Jane Rau Interpretive Trail at Brown’s Ranch: A nearly 0.5-mile trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, following a wash (30301 N. Alma School Road, Scottsdale).

Native Plant Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park: A 0.25-mile paved trail showcasing native plants near the Superstition Mountains (6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction).


Greater Phoenix offers a diverse range of barrier-free hiking opportunities, from urban paths and nature walks to mountain trails. These accessible spots provide everyone the chance to enjoy the sunsets, desert vistas, and natural wonders that make Phoenix so special.

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