Best easy day hikes in Phoenix: 5 fun, scenic trails for beginners or advanced hikers

It’s the season where in Arizona we all want to be outdoors. The desert, so cruel for so long, welcomes us again with open arms. If the blast-furnace heat of summer kept you off the trails for months, you’ll want to ease into things. To work yourself back into hiking shape, start with some easy trails.

Just don’t let the rating undersell their attractions.

Even trails regarded as easy reward alert hikers in countless ways. Each of these five trails delivers the full desert experience. Watch for wildlife and enjoy plenty of mild winter sunshine. Savor the big scenic views and admire the saguaros as tall as office buildings. That’s all worth getting out and walking around for a while.

For example, everyone should take a walk on the Jane Rau Trail as a tribute to one of the people who spearheaded the effort to establish the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Jane Rau is a longtime local community activist and educator. The trail that bears her name circles through a picturesque wash in the preserve, punctuated by tall saguaros and clumps of boulders. Brown’s Mountain, a slanted hump rising from the desert floor, and the smooth precision of neighboring Cone Mountain add vertical notes to the skyline.

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