The rising temperature does not have to thwart your exercise routine. As the temperatures dip in the morning and in the twilight, hit the trails at these destinations for your daily run.
South Mountain Park
At 13,000 acres, South Mountain boasts one of the largest parks in the US. With ten different trails, this park is a great haven for runners of all levels. Alta Trail is one of the most difficult trails at 4.5 miles of steep terrain, while the Judith Tunell trail at one mile divided between two half-mile loops is one of the easier jogs. Along the paths, a runner can find water fountains and ramadas for a quick break before hitting the trails again. The park opens at 5 am, allowing runners to enjoy the cooler temperatures. The park’s website is here.
Scottsdale Green Belt
If a tamer, more cement-lined running path is preferred, check out the Scottsdale Green Belt at Hayden and Chaparral. Though the paths are clearly marked, the scenery is beautiful. Set to parks, golf courses and the splendor of Camelback Mountain, many Scottsdale and Tempe residents use the Green Belt as their trail of choice. Serious runners can take the Belt for miles, from Old Town Scottsdale to Tempe Town Lake.
Papago Park Trails
Papago is preferred by runners for an outdoor, natural setting while still in the heart of a thriving city. Despite being a popular spot for runners, once on the trail few others are spotted making this a great secluded destination. Papago is located on the border of Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix with the entrance north of McDowell St and south of Washington St. The park is easily accessible on the light rail stop, Priest. Some highlights for runners include water fountains, ponds, the Phoenix Zoo and close proximity to the Desert Botanical Gardens. Jackrabbits and coyotes are common to spot along the paths.
North Moutain Park
A great place to start the jog is 7th St and Thunderbird. Runners will be enchanted with the wildflowers and scenic view as they job up Shaw Butte. Though the trek is demanding, the temperatures will be cooler amidst the lush scenery of the park. For more information on the trails, check out this site: http://www.phoenix.gov/PARKS/nmvc.html
Phoenix Encanto District
If an urban trek is desired over a natural setting, few districts are as charming as Phoenix’s Encanto District. True to the Phoenix grid-system, the neighborhood is easy to navigate. This path is ideal for the runner who is also an architecture-buff since the homes are styled from the 1920s-1950s era. Start at 7th Avenue and McDonald, exploring as far as 15th Avenue and Thomas. The city sky line can be viewed during the run, too. With any luck, the peacocks known to roam the neighborhood may greet you with its cat-like cries as you run past the charming houses. To learn more about this District, see http://www.historicphoenix.com/historic-districts/encanto-palmcroft-historic-district/
Enjoy the run, and stay hydrated!