Piestewa is a classic Phoenix hike that takes you steeply up to a granite peak surrounded by views of the city in every direction. It’s a Stairmaster workout supreme, so those with knee problems will suffer because it’s an unrelenting series of rocky and uneven steps to the top that can be even worse going down. The benefit to this hike over Camelback Mountain is that the trail is open until 11pm, so you can hike it at night and enjoy the twinkling lights.
If you can get a parking spot in the first lot on the left, that’s the closest to the trailhead. The lot with the bathrooms is the next turn after that, but be aware that the bathroom doors may not lock, and you might accidentally walk in on a man’s hairy butt like my friend did.
The gate to the parking lot closes at 7pm, so if you’re going for a night hike, park in the lot on the right side before the gate. The trail is open until 11pm.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
From the parking area, take the obvious and well-worn trail that begins to head up the mountain in front of you. There is a concrete curb, rock steps, and other uneven and broken bits of concrete to let you know you’re in the right place.
It’s a steady climb from there, and there is little shade to be had. You brought plenty of water, right?
When you reach a large saddle with benches, there’s a junction with the Piestewa Freedom Trail that goes off the the left. Keep right to stay on the summit trail.
It’s gettin’ real, isn’t it? Take advantage of several benches along the trail if you need to rest.
When you start to see metal railings, you’ll know you’re very close. The trail gets a little flatter for a short time right before you begin the final push to the peak on what I like to call the stairway from hell into heaven.
Now here comes the part that separates the Converse from the Keens. Almost everyone stops short of the actual peak by heading left at the top of the stairway.
You’re not there yet!
The awesome readers of WildPathsAZ know better and will take a right to head up the rocky peak to the true summit where they can look down on the foolish mortals below. I like to say, “It’s not over until you put your mass on the brass,” referring to the peak marker at the summit.
I kid, of course, because all hikers are my friends. Even the Starbucks and Lululemon ones. Oh wait, maybe not the banana peel or pistachio shell ones. They can learn better, though.
Leave no trace, folks.
Enjoy awesome views of the city and its pollution. We breathe that?! Yikes!
Map & Directions
Location Piestewa Peak and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, Phoenix, Arizona
From Phoenix, take the 51 north to Lincoln Drive and turn right. Turn left onto Piestewa Peak Drive and take that into the park. Park in the first lot on the left if you can, or park before the gate in the lot on the right if you’re hiking at night.
Trailhead Facilities Water and restrooms with flushing toilets, but maybe no door locks. Open with care to avoid a hairy butt scene.
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