Hiking is a great cross-training activity that allows for a long caloric burn, improves cardio health and conditions muscles, especially leg strength.
South Mountain Park is a great place to take our “fit” finding mission and enjoy the beautiful weather before the oppressive heat of the spring and summer months are upon us. South Mountain is the largest city park in the nation and also one of the largest urban parks in the country too. Don’t miss out getting to know one of Phoenix’s most special points of pride. There are beautiful natural desert scenes and great views of the city.
There are several parking and trailhead opportunities, but for this assignment you will take 24th Street south of Baseline to where it intersects with Euclid/E. Valley View Drive. There is a parking lot just east of 24th Street (Tip: be careful where you park. You will get a parking ticket if you park somewhere where public parking is NOT allowed). This is where you will find the Mormon trailhead and where your mission begins.
If you are in my Tues/Thurs kickboxing class at Phoenix College, then you know hiking is one opportunity I give to earn “extra-credit” and I and a group of friends have been hiking South Mountain on Sundays pretty regularly. If you are in my class, to get “extra-credit” you must send me a photo of yourself at the first trail marker before Tuesday, February 21st but the challenge is to complete the entire hike documented in the video and photo-gallery and take photos of yourself in the same places (approximately) that Michelle and I are pictured.
Up Mormon Trail to National Trail. Take the Hidden Valley Trail around until you intersect with National again. Follow National north, then down the mountain on Mormon to the parking lot. About 5 miles, I think. The first mile is the hardest and there places where one will have to climb over rock on Hidden Valley.
Watch the video and study the photos and maps of the area, then get out there and take on the mountain. Take the challenge. Win! Then reward yourself with some sweet fruit at the end to savor the sweet victory. Oh ya, don’t forget to bring water. Plenty of water and never hike alone, even in an urban park.
Link to Hidden Valley Challenge photo album – here.