When you’re looking for opportunities for fun outdoors, you can’t go wrong with a hike with the whole family. Fortunately, the area in and around Mesa features plenty of trails ideal for all skill levels.
Whether you want to go for an easy stroll to take in the plants and native wildlife or you’re looking for a more intense hike, our area has it all. Crème de la Crème of Mesa put together this list of great hiking sites to check out.
Usery Mountain Regional Park
Image via Flickr by homeredwardprice
No matter how skilled your kids are at hiking, Usery Mountain Regional Park has something for everyone. This park, located right in Mesa, offers more than 29 miles of trails. Whether you’re in the mood for hiking, biking, or even horseback riding, you can find the perfect activity here.
Park trails come in a range of lengths, with trails as short as 0.2 miles — about a 10-minute walk — and more than 7 miles available. The trails also feature many different difficulty levels. You can check the trail maps at the Nature Center on the site before you get started.
Once you do, you’ll quickly see why the trails at Usery Mountain Regional Park are so popular. They have enough elevation that hikers get to experience truly breathtaking views of the Valley. Pass Mountain Trail is a 7-mile trail within this park suited to moderate hiking, while Blevins Trail is an easier hike and stretches for 3.1 miles.
If that’s not enough to inspire you to trek over to the park, you can also look forward to plenty of campground amenities for a family getaway. More than 70 individual sites offer campers electrical and water hookups, barbecue grills, and access to flush toilets and showers. You’ll want to make a reservation ahead of time for this popular spot.
Usery Mountain South Summit
As the highest point within the Mesa city limits, Usery Mountain South Summit is a great place to go if you’re looking to take in the views. You’ll find Usery Mountain South just under a mile south of Usery Benchmark, which is a higher Usery summit to the north.
Keep in mind that the areas to the south and east of Usery Mountain are considered private property, so you’ll need to access the summit trail from the western trailhead. You’ll find that about a quarter of a mile north of Thomas Road on Hawes Road, but you’ll need to park on the street, as there is no parking available at the trailhead.
Created by local hikers, Usery Mountain South Summit is a 2.4-mile out-and-back trail that sees only light traffic, so most people can finish it in around an hour. It’s used primarily for running and hiking, although you can take dogs along this trail if you keep them on a leash.
The trail is considered moderate in terms of difficulty. You’ll have the chance to see wildlife along the way, and you’ll come across various cairns to lead the way as you head toward the summit. Be prepared for primitive and slippery parts of the trail in some spots. For the most part, though, it’s relatively well-maintained.
Lost Dutchman State Park
You don’t have to travel far from Mesa to experience even more great hiking. Lost Dutchman State Park, located in Apache Junction, offers lots of outdoor fun as well.
The park features several trails that lead into the Superstition Wilderness as well as the Tonto National Forest surrounding it. You’ll find hiking trails catering to various skills levels, too.
The Native Plant trail is great for a laid-back stroll of about 0.25 miles, while the Siphon Draw Trail is more challenging at 4 miles total — a walking time of a couple of hours. No matter which trail you choose, you can get the whole family excited about enjoying nature. Lost Dutchman State Park makes a great place for a day trip, and you can plan for overnight camping as well.
Tonto National Forest
Areas close to Mesa ideal for hiking in the Tonto National Forest include the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks Areas. You’ll need a Tonto pass to access the park and can contact the Mesa Ranger station for detailed hiking locations so you can plan out your day.
Tonto National Forest offers an abundance of opportunities for backpacking and hiking. You’ll find lakes, scenic views atop mountains, local ruins, petroglyphs, and more here.
If you’re looking for an easier hike, you can check out the 3-mile Hawes Loop Trail within Tonto National Forest. This loop trail is suited to all skill levels, and you can even bring the family dog along for the adventure as long as you keep your furry friend on a leash. Kids are sure to love taking in the gorgeous wildflowers as you walk along this area.
Tonto National Forest also features a range of trails that hikers looking for moderate difficulty can enjoy. Try the Bulldog Saddle Trail, offering 2.8 miles of out-and-back trail flanked by tons of beautiful wildflowers. You can also head over to the Saguaro, Ridge, and Granite Trail Loop. This loop trail runs for 3.9 miles and also boasts plenty of picturesque flowers of its own. This trail is great for both hiking and mountain biking. Dogs can use both of these trails, too.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
With over 8 miles of trails in nearby Queen Creek, San Tan Mountain Regional Park is another great place to enjoy the great outdoors as a family. Trails range from 1.1 miles, which you can walk in about 30 minutes, to more than 5 miles in length.
You can find trails in this park suited to all skill levels, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to strenuous. You can also enjoy a variety of trail activities here, including mountain biking and horseback riding. All in all, the park is a great place to go for unique views of the lower Sonoran Desert, and kids can look forward to everything from sighting plants and wildlife to taking in scenic mountain views.