Scenic USA - Arizona

South Mountain Park

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South Mountain Park - Phoenix, Arizona

Photos by Clayton Esterson
Clayton's South Mountain Park Gallery

Saguaro Crown in Bloom      Introduced as the largest city park in the world, this title may be a little misleading for those that haven't visited Phoenix. South Mountain Park, dominated by Sonoran Desert topography, is more of a preserve than a typical city park.
     Initially purchased in 1924, the park has since grown to nearly 17,000 acres. The first park development was planned by the National Parks Service, with many facilities and trails established by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Teddybear Cholla Blossom
     Today, the City of Phoenix has spread out around some of the park's borders, giving rise to the preserve's popularity. Nearly 60 miles of trails allow for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Some trails, such as the Mormon Trail and Judith Tunnel Trail, offer easy to moderate one mile hikes. Longer trails include the 14 mile National Trail and Strawberry Hedgehog Blossoms - South Mountain Park, AZ the Desert Classic Trail, which can be quite challenging. Most visitors prefer to see the park from their car, stopping along various overlooks and viewpoints.
     While visiting the park, either on foot or by car, park guests will find over 300 species of plants and a variety of elusive small mammals and reptiles. Cactus plants include the famous saguaros, as well as barrel, hedge hog, pincushion, jumping cholla and prickly pear. Flowering cactus and desert wildflowers provide visitors an added treat when these vivid flowers come into bloom, providing a stark contrast to the drab earth tones of the desert.

      Area Map


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