Sun Circle Trail is the perfect name for this looping path that follows through the most urban and rural areas of Phoenix, Arizona. The path follows closely to the center of the city, passing through neighborhoods, parks, and natural spaces that stays sunny throughout the year. The trail itself remains an even 2 feet wide, with a terrain made of concrete, compacted dirt, and crushed stone.
This huge trail has multiple trailheads, but one of the most well known to start at is in the neighborhood of Guadalupe, in a gravel parking area at the corner of Calle Guadalupe and South Avenida Yaqui. Crossing the street will get you to the beginning of the trail. The trail starts out walking along the road and through urban spaces, past restaurants, retail, and residential homes. After about a mile of this, it passes through its first park, South Mountain Park.
The park marks the tallest peak in the city and is the home to the trail's highest elevated point at the peak of the mountain, running through desert terrain and mountain slopes. Getting to the top is no easy feat, but afterward, the trail continues a couple miles to pass through Estrella Mountain Regional Park, where the trailhead offers beautiful desert and mountain landscapes, as well as a restroom in the parking area. After this, over 90 miles of the trail is wanders through the city, and connects over 11 different communities to the downtown area of Phoenix. In the city portions, lots of people leave bowls and buckets of water out for Fido to get plenty of water.
Trail hikers can see other landmarks like Phoenix Falls, The Agua Fira River, and the Salt River Indian Community. It's quite the feat to finish this trail with Fido in one go, but with over 22 trailheads, it's easy to stop and pick up a new portion of the trail at different times. The trail eventually loops back to its original trailhead in Guadalupe, ending where most people start and near parking along Calle Guadalupe.
Whether you want to take just a short trek or a days-long hike including camping with your pup, the Sun Circle Trail will offer the best views of the Phoenix area.