One of my favorite somewhat local places to hike is South Mountain in Phoenix. This is the world’s largest municipal park at 17,000 acres. It is usually packed with people, but crowds thin out once you get off the fire road. The terrain offers something for every skill level, from flat paths for the stroller set to near-vertical inclines for the crazed mountain bikers. On any given day you can see cyclists, hikers, folks on horseback, people with their dogs, and even drone-fliers (ugh).
I love to take my dog for a strenuous trek but try to time it when it will be somewhat empty. Luckily, our most recent visit was just what I wanted. Sunny skies, cool temperatures, and few people. Check out the skyline beyond my dog. From this point, I had a near 270° view of the valley. From Piestawa Peak all the way south to the San Tan. Perfection.
If you are in the Phoenix area or planning to visit, check out the website and try to fit in some quality outdoor time in the desert while in the city.