Located in between the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo, Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona offers the perfect balance between desert land bursting with natural beauty, iconic rock formations and beautiful ponds, a touch of history, and countless scenic trails, perfect for hiking and biking. The park is also an ideal location for bird watching especially early in the morning.
Galvin Parkway divides the park into two areas, the west, and the east side. Both sides offer multiple trails and picnic facilities including Ramadas. Restrooms are available only on the east side and the parking lot is open from Sunrise to Sunset. The trails on the west side of the park are paved and more accessible as they move around the park’s buttes. The east trails are more scenic, particularly the nature trails and the ones passing by the major landmarks.
Hole In The Rock is possibly the park’s most visited attraction. This fiery red, sandstone cave-like structure overlooks the lagoons and the city of Phoenix in the background. Historians believe that this structure was used by Native American civilizations to monitor the sun’s movements through a hole in the ceiling. A short dirt trail with 200 feet of elevation leads from the Papago Park Visitor Center to the Hole In The Rock. The trail moves around the large butte and includes a flight of steep steps leading to the entrance of the chamber. This trail can get rather busy at times.
Overlooking the park, Hunt’s Tomb is another popular landmark. Visitors can walk up the hill to the white pyramid, where George Hunt, Arizona’s first governor, and 5 other family members are buried. The view from here is simply spectacular.
Papago Park provides multiple trail opportunities, most of which are easy and accessible such as the Crosscut Canal Path, or the Galvin Bikeway trail which enables visitors to walk from the Desert Botanical Garden to Phoenix Zoo over a concrete path. Other trails move around the larger or smaller buttes. For an added challenge, visitors may follow the fitness trail, which has multiple training stations along the way. The informative Nature Trail is one of the most sought-after trails as it provides a scenic view of the park whilst explaining its wildlife and flora.