Phoenix is the cosmopolitan heart of Arizona and one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States. The desert-like climate produces year-round sunshine, and the unique terrain of mountains of gorgeous red rocks make Phoenix a unique city for running. A “must do” in Phoenix is to plan a run amid the rocks during sunrise or sunset to enjoy the spectacular light, or to run on paths through desert wildflowers after a rain. Phoenix is a large and sprawling area, so our guide to running in Phoenix is divided into two sections: Central, including downtown, Tempe, and Scottsdale; and Suburbs, including ** . While the auto generally rules here, Phoenix and Tempe are now connected by an efficient light rail system.
The best places to run in central are Phoenix trend toward Tempe, highlighted by the Desert Botanical Garden and Papago Park, the Tempe Town Lake Trail, and the Indian Wash Greenbelt connecting to Scottsdale. As for central Phoenix, running options in the heart of downtown are not great. It’s better in North Phoenix: Murphy’s Bridle Path, the Arizona Canal Trail, numerous multi-use paths, and recreation areas such as Dreamy Draw and Reach 11 that feature extensive paths. With the desert terrain and surrounding mountains, the trail running options in the Phoenix area are extensive. We’ve highlighted some of the more accessible, less technical trail running spots.
Important note for runners: the weather in Phoenix is extremely hot from May through October, with temperatures often exceeding 110F. Plus, the terrain is very open and exposed. Please take the right preautions!