Are you going on a family outing around Phoenix, Arizona, and want to plan an activity that requires minimal gear and maximum flexibility? Try a hiking trip! Hiking is one of the easiest ways to unplug with the family and explore an area’s native flora and fauna.

Plus, hiking allows you to tailor the experience to suit everyone’s abilities and preferences. Year-round sunshine and proximity to hundreds of miles of beginner trails make Phoenix the perfect place to find family and kid friendly hikes. 

So, if you’re looking to find some kid friendly hikes in Arizona to explore the desert’s plethora of cacti species, creepy crawlies, and overwhelming scenic beauty, this article is for you. We’ve listed three of our favorite family friendly hikes Phoenix has to offer.

3 Family Friendly Hiking Trails in Phoenix, AZ

1. McDowell Mountain Regional Park

The North Trail

The Mcdowell Mountain Regional Park is a 21,099-acre park in the Sonoran Desert that sports over 65 miles of (mostly) easily navigable hiking trails. The North Trail is a flat 2.9-mile loop trail – ideal for both hiking and biking. Plus, its easy rating makes it perfect for families. 

The trail is also educational and very engaging for kids. Upon arrival, you can pick up an information sheet at the registration desk that corresponds to 34 marker points along the trail. These markers have information about the plants and animals in the area. This is a great way to keep kiddos – and adults – engaged and a fantastic way to explore the area, too! The bonus, there’s a nature center near the front of the park where some local wildlife is on display. 

Check out the map: Expanded view of the North Trail (in orange) on Page 2.


2. Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trails

Lost Dog Wash Trail 

Over 30,000 acres in area, this permanently protected nature preserve holds about 250 miles of interconnected, diversely rated trails. This is an excellent family friendly hiking area in Phoenix because five main trailheads offer access to hikes as short or long as you’d like. The trails range from less than a mile in length to 250 miles, which covers the entire preserve! 

The Lost Dog Wash Trail, in particular, starts from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead and is a 4.1-mile loop. You also have the option of joining other trails to make it a longer hike. Alternatively, you can cut it short by taking spurs off the Lost Dog Wash Trail. 

What makes this adventure even more kid-friendly is that youngsters can get a “Passport” at the trailhead; the Passport has a scavenger hunt that teaches about flora and fauna in the area!

Check out the map – Look for the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead towards the bottom of the map. 


3. South Mountain Park 

Hidden Valley Trail Via Mormon Trail

This is a 3.6 mile “moderate” rated loop trail that, while still kid-friendly, will be best enjoyed by physically active families, as it starts on the steeper side for about a mile. 

But don’t let the moderate rating scare you! The trail offers many opportunities to stop for breaks and to enjoy spectacular views. This heavily trafficked trail features a river, dry waterfalls, tunnels, and even a fun squeeze through Fat Man’s Pass on the way to the ridge! This trail’s easy accessibility makes it a popular attraction among tourists and locals alike.

Check out the map – Look for the Mormon Trailhead towards the upper-right.


There are hundreds of miles of family friendly hikes in Phoenix, Arizona, and all it takes is a little research to find the perfect one for you and your family. These three hikes are educational, engaging, and easy for most anyone to do. 

When hiking, remember that safety comes first. Always bring at least one liter of water per person, a map, snacks, and wear close-toed shoes. It’s always a good idea to brush up on your desert hiking safety before you head out, too. Happy hiking!