There’s nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors while on vacation with your family. And what better way to immerse yourself in nature than by hiking in beautiful Chandler, Arizona? During the day, soak up the sunshine while being surrounded by the unparalleled natural beauty of the quiet woods, fascinating wildlife, and tranquil ponds. At night, you can return to your new home away from home. Book a stay at one of the coziest vacation rentals in Chandler, which range from luxury villas to spacious townhouses. Whether you’re looking for a scenic place for a casual stroll, or trying to get your rock climbing on, you’ll find your family’s perfect hiking trail in this prominent city.
1. Veterans Oasis Park
This combination of park land, lake, and wetlands/groundwater recharge basins has 4.5 miles of trails to hike, ride a bike, or meander while bird-watching as well as ramadas and picnic areas, a butterfly and hummingbird habitat, an outdoor amphitheater, a unique, learning-oriented playground, a 5-acre Community fishing lake, a Solar System Walk, and equestrian trails. Basically, this park has everything your family might and will enjoy. Science buffs will love the Solar System Walk, a series of concrete monuments representing objects in our solar system. Nature lovers will enjoy the diverse plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. And, the athletes of the family have plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities to choose from!
2. San Tan Mountain Regional Park
San Tan Mountain Regional Park offers more than 8 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Trails range from 1.1 miles to more than 5 miles, and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous making it easy to find trails that the whole family will enjoy. If you’re looking for an easy, relatively short hike, the Moonlight Trail is the perfect choice. For something a little more difficult, try the San Tan Trail which winds you through the Broken Lands and Central Valley portions of the park all the way to the top of the Goldmine Mountains. Another popular choice is the Malpais Hills Trail. Whichever trail you choose, keep an eye out for wildlife such as javelinas, coyotes, and Gila monsters!
3. Desert Foothills Trailhead
Desert Foothills Trailhead is great for kids who enjoy hiking, and dogs are allowed too, meaning the whole family can come! Start on the Telegraph Pass Trail for and easy 2.3 mile round trip hike with about 500 feet in elevation. The first quarter of the mile is paved and then the rest is some rubble terrain, so even the kiddos can do it with no problem. If that’s not enough, you can continue on the National Trail West and the Kiwanis Trail. This one has plenty inclines and declines, and it makes a round back to the Telegraph Pass Trail. You can also mountain bike here too! Our favorite thing about the Desert Foothills Trailhead is the ample parking lot, and there’s a picnic table in the center and a water fountain perfect for taking a little break from the heat.
4. Pima Canyon South Mountain
From this location you have access to dozens of trails, including National trail, Mormon trail, Ridgeline, and Fat Man’s pass. The latter is named aptly for its narrow pass that a “fat man” wouldn’t be able to squeeze through. If you want to go to Fat Man’s pass, take National Trail to Hidden Valley. Then take Mormon Loop back to Pima Canyon Trailhead. The hike is less than 7 miles total and gives you beautiful views of downtown Pheonix, rock formations and old stone buildings. The kids will love spotting petroglyphs created by the Hohokam people.
The rock art can be found along such pathways as the Judith Tunnel, as well as near the Desert Classic, Kiwanis, Telegraph Pass, Mormon and Holbert trails and the Mormon Loop and reprsent such life forms as birds, animals and people, geometric designs and shapes that are symbolic. Flat and wider paths makes Pima Wash dog friendly, and the trails are multi-use meaning you can hike, mountain bike, and horseback ride. Horse owners are welcome to ride along certain trails, but it might make more sense to bring your own mountain bikes which you can easily store at your vacation rental when you’re not using them. We can’t say the same for a horse.
5. Paseo Vista Recreation Area
The Paseo Vista Recreation Area not only has more than a mile of walking trails, but it also includes an archery range, disc golf course, dog park, playground, and picnic areas. For nearly 30 years it was a working landfill, a large man-made dirt mound with sloping sides rising above the streets and nearby houses, and was later converted. Thanks to the area’s history, Paseo Vista offers a prominent 40-foot-high lookout point providing spectacular 360-degree views of the East Valley. More than the hike to the top of the hill, the kids might love taking an archery class, or spending time at the play area which includes swings, slides, climbing rocks, a large spherical jungle gym made of cables, and an educational trash wall.
6. Paseo Trail
Not to be confused with the Paseo Vista Recreation Area, the Chandler Paseo Trail is located about two miles north. The 6.5-mile Paseo Trail is a 10-ft.-wide concrete multi-use pathway. The western side of the canal can be used for horseback riding or bicycling, while the paved trail is perfect for walking, jogging, and pushing a stroller. So, if not everyone in your family can walk yet, this is the perfect place for you! There are also water fountains and public restrooms available along the trail helping you avoid any meltdowns or potty emergencies.
7. Wild Horse Pass Interpretive Trail
If you want to mix in a little culture and education to your family hike, try the Wild Horse Pass Interpretive Trail. This two and a half mile trail runs along the Wild Horse Pass Resort’s replication of the Gila River and has more than fifty signs detailing detailing the culture, history and plant life of the Gila River Indian Community. The goal of the trail is to make the Gila River Indian history more tangible and interactive. More than half the signs, in both Pima and English languages, feature pictures of plants and their significance to the Gila River People. The other signs detail facts about the area and history of Pima Cotton as well as facts about the Pima and Maricopa languages. For even more fun, your children can join the Kids Club where they can scour the trail for bugs on a guided tour with resort staff.
8. Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
There’s a little something for everyone at Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. The extensive dirt trails around the 7 ponds will take you past a ramada, an observatory open on weekends and special celestial dates, a burrowing owl habitat, an archeological dig site, a dinosaur dig site, some petroglyphs, and multiple photo sites. There are 202 different types of birds to see including hummingbirds, vultures, and everything in between. Check the calendar online for various education and recreation programs and for the many great night activities and events.
9. Hayden Butte Preserve
This 25-acre park offers wonderful views of Tempe and the surrounding cities, the Papago Mountains, Camelback Mountain, the Salt River and much more. The Preserve also contains approximately 500 petroglyphs, or rock art images, that were made by the Hohokam some time between A.D. 750 and 1450. There are two trails to choose from, a rugged switchback trail, or a vertical paved trail. Don’t let the paved path fool you. Although it’s relatively short, it’s straight up and can be fairly strenuous. Wear sturdy shoes and drink lots of water, and make it up in time to watch the sunset. You won’t regret i!
10. Papago Park
Even though Papago Park is relatively close to the big city, its massive, otherworldly sandstone buttes will transport you to another place. Papago’s desert trails are generally smooth, easy treks with little elevation gain, making it a great place for a family hike. There’s a great 5K loop, biking trails, and several mild hiking trails to enjoy. For a completely unique photo opportunity, Hole in the Rock is an absolute must. This red butte was created 6 to 15 million years ago and has a series of openings caused by erosion. You can reach it from the rear via a smooth, but somewhat steep path. It can be a trek, but you’ll be rewarded with great views across the city.