South Mountain Park is a large park and nature preserve in Phoenix, Arizona. It consists of over 16,000 acres of land, making it the largest municipal park in the entire United States. The park was founded in 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge sold 13,000 acres of land to the city of Phoenix.
Today, the park is known as South Mountain because it is located south of the city of Phoenix. It features over 50 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding that are appropriate for visitors of all ages and skill levels, making it a great nature-based attraction for families visiting the Phoenix area.
Things to Do
- Go for a hike or bike ride along one of South Mountain Park's many trails. You'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Phoenix and the surrounding valley.
- Look for chuckwallas! South Mountain Park is known for having one of the world's largest populations of these large lizards. You'll be able to identify males by their distinctive orange-colored "carrot tails".
- Visit the Mystery Castle in South Mountain Park. This local attraction is a unique house that was made by a father for his daughter as a dream house. It features 18 rooms, including a chapel and a dungeon.
South Mountain Park Insider Tips
- If you're planning to go for a hike in the summertime, try to head to the park early in the morning or in the evening when it's cooler outside. Hiking at midday increases the risk of heat exhaustion or dehydration due to Phoenix's intense summer heat.
- Bring along plenty of water and snacks for the whole family - it's easy to get dehydrated under the Arizona sun, and you'll probably get hungry if you're sweating from all that exercise!
- Don't worry about rattlesnakes - while they do often appear on the trails at South Mountain Park, they won't bother you as long as you leave them alone and give them plenty of space to slither away.