South Mountain Park Hiking with the Couch Potato

Posted by on Jul 24, 2011 in Hiking Adventures, Hiking Gear | No Comments

South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona has hikes for Couch Potatoes. It also has some more challenging hikes and some terrific views. As the largest City Park in the US, South Mountain is the magnet that draws everyone from bicyclists, to families, to singles people with dogs. You can count on a greeting from most people you pass on the trail.

Author Shelley and her friend Couch Potato head out on the trail.
With the blue sky and some amazing nature sightings, you can’t beat South Mountain Park for a place to hike – but arrive early in the AM from May through late September.

This time of year, heading out early is the only way to avoid the heat. Temperatures climb to the 90s by late morning. Water – in abundance – is the most important thing to bring, in addition to wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sun-block. You don’t like sunblock? Then expect to turn a bright shade of red – very colorful – and probably painful!

Our recent hike –

If you take the west loop beginning near the end of Pima Canyon Road, at the following GPS coordinates you have a great view of Tempe, Arizona. (Latitude 32º21”58’ N, Longitude 111º 59”21” W)

This gecko did not offer us an insurance quote!

We took our Hiking Couch Potato along on a recent hike to see what it was all about. Along the way, we saw a gecko – no he didn’t offer us an insurance quote! – and a bird enjoying the nectar of a saguaro cactus in bloom.

Saguaro in bloom with bird tasting the nectar

We were out on the trail over an hour, but anyone can easily enjoy anywhere from 15 minutes to hours in this area of the Park.

Late Spring is a great time to meet Mother Nature and see this desert park in bloom. Later in the season, it is hard to be there after 8 or 9 AM. Even the most intrepid hiker clears out by late morning. We had a late start – and the parking area was almost cleared out by the time we finished around 11:15 AM.

The whole idea is – get up! Get out early – and go back to bed, if you must, when you’re done. Exercise – you’ll feel so virtuous when you’ve hiked! And the views can be stunning!