Running Trails In Phoenix 

If you’re looking for a great way to keep fit and active, you might want to consider running trails.

Trail running is a type of running where you move away from the pavement and onto trails to tackle more difficult terrain, as well as immersing yourself in gorgeous surroundings.

Trail runs can be a great way to connect with a new city you’re living in, or to further explore one where you’ve lived for quite some time.


Phoenix, Arizona is a gorgeous city and there are so many options of great trails to run. The hot climate offers runners lots of difficulties, but the beautiful trails all around the city make stepping outside worth it!

So if you find yourself searching for new running trails in and around the Phoenix area of Arizona, then this is the right place for you!

We’ve compiled a list of the ten best running trails we could find so that you can pick a new running adventure today! 

Just a small note before we begin, some of these trails will correspond to general areas rather than specific trails, but that’s just because there are multiple options for you to choose from!

We’ve also made sure to include a short Frequently Asked Questions section that will aim to answer any questions you might have leftover by the end. Okay, so let’s get started and run some trails out in Phoenix, Arizona! 

Top 10 Running Trails In Phoenix Arizona 

Desert Ridge Park – North Scottsdale 


We wanted to begin with this park because of its gorgeous views and many different options for runners. This trail has a total distance of 2 miles long, and it starts at the top of the mountain near the golf course.

It winds through desert landscapes and past cacti plants, which makes for an interesting experience. There are plenty of benches along the trail, making it easy to stop and take a break.

Camelback Mountain Trail – South Scottsdale

Another popular option for runners in the area is Camelback Mountain. This trail takes you up the side of the mountain and gives you amazing views of the city below.

You’ll see mountains and valleys, and even the Superstition Mountains on clear days. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along the trail, including the large parking lot at the summit.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park – Tempe


 McDowell Mountain Regional Park is home to a variety of fun activities like hiking, biking, camping, and swimming. One of our favorite things about this park is the fact that it has a ton of trails to explore.

There are over 20 miles of paved paths, as well as dirt trails, and they’re all perfect for running. 

Some of the most popular trails include the 4-mile loop, the 8-mile loop, and the 6-mile loop. These loops start and finish at the same location, meaning you don’t need to worry about getting lost. This is a great one to choose from if you need multiple options. 

Verde River Greenway – Phoenix 

The Verde River Greenway is a fantastic place to go for a run. It’s located in downtown Phoenix, and it’s close to the light rail station. This trail was built along the river, so you’ll enjoy watching birds fly overhead and fish swim by.

It’s a very scenic trail, and it’s not too crowded either. It’s a nice change of pace from other parks in the area, and it’s a great choice if you’d prefer to stay closer to civilization.

Piestewa Peak State Recreation Area – Phoenix 


Piestewa Peak is a state recreation area that includes several trails to explore. It’s a bit farther out of town, but it’s still only a 30-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. This area is known for its stunning views, and it’s a good way to spend a Sunday morning.

The trails here range between 1 mile and 3 miles, depending on where you decide to go. If you want something shorter, check out the 0.5-mile nature trail or the 0.25-mile interpretive trail.

Central Avenue Bridge Trail – Downtown Phoenix 

This trail is a little less than a mile long, and it connects two bridges in downtown Phoenix. It’s a pretty flat route, and it goes across the Salt River.

The view of the bridge is beautiful, and it’s a nice spot to stop and stretch your legs after walking for a while.

Indian Bend Wash Nature Preserve – Phoenix 


Indian Bend Wash is a natural waterway that runs through Phoenix, and there are several trails to explore. We recommend starting at the north end of the preserve since it’s closest to I-17.

From there, you can head east to the 5-mile trail, west to the 3-mile trail, or south to the 2-mile trail. All three of these trails lead to the same point, which is a great thing if you plan on doing them all!

Arizona Canal Trail – Phoenix 

This trail is part of the larger Grand Canal Trail system, and it’s a wonderful place to get outside and exercise. It’s a multi-use path, and it’s used mostly for jogging, walking, and biking.

However, some sections of the trail are suitable for mountain bikers. You’ll pass by many different types of trees, including willows, cottonwoods, sycamores, and more.

Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix 


This garden is home to hundreds of species of plants, and it’s a fantastic place to visit if you love botany. There are plenty of trails to explore, and you can even rent bikes here.

The best part? They have free admission every day!

South Mountain Park – Phoenix

This park is home to a huge network of trails, and it’s a really popular destination for runners. There are nearly 25 miles of paved pathways to explore, and they’re perfect for walking, running, rollerblading, and biking.

There are also tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball nets, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, playgrounds, softball fields, and even an archery range.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Get your last-minute running trail questions answered here!

How Far Should I Run Before Getting Into Shape?

This depends entirely on you. Some people start with very light workouts, while others prefer to build up their endurance gradually over time. Start slow, and work your way up as you become fitter.

What Do I Need To Bring When I Run?

You don’t need much to run, so pack what you feel like wearing. Bring comfortable shoes (preferably ones without spikes), a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and any other items that might come in handy.

Are There Certain Things That I Shouldn’t Eat Before Running?

There are no foods that you absolutely cannot eat before running, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Try to avoid eating anything too spicy or greasy, and stick to lighter options such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and protein bars.

Which Route Should I Follow?

Don’t worry about following a specific path. Instead, focus on enjoying the scenery and taking in the fresh air. This will help you stay motivated and improve your overall health.

Do I Need To Wear Special Clothes When I Run?

No, you don’t need to wear special clothing when you run. However, you may want to consider bringing along a sports bra, shorts, t-shirt, and socks.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Those are 10 of the best locations for trail running that you will find in and around Phoenix, Arizona.

We hope that the list above has given you enough variety for you to pick something suitable for you. When it comes to choosing a running trail, just try to make sure you’re prepared, and that it matches all of your current training goals!

We wish you the best of luck on your training journey. If you still have some questions, check above for our short FAQ section!

Megan Rinzel
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