There are many easy, casual hiking trails in the Phoenix Metro Area. The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is not one of them. From the sign that says 'EXTREMELY DIFFICULT" at the trailhead to the peak is a 1,168 foot difference in elevation covered in only a little over a mile. The terrain is very rocky with steps and small climbs well over a foot tall all over the trail. There are also massive drops on either side of the trail in areas. It is extremely important to use caution on this trail.
If you aren't put off by the difficulty and are up for the challenge, you are in for a fun hike and a great workout. Almost entirely uphill, this trail weaves through the smaller hills at the base of the mountain alongside jagged rock formations and drops up to the summit. As you come to the summit, the skyline of downtown Phoenix lines the horizon backed by the South Mountains. Amazing 360-degree views, cooler temperatures, and possibly even a slight breeze await you at the top, making the 1,000-foot climb more than worth it.
Despite the difficulty, this trail is very popular and almost always crowded. Beat the heat and the crowd by making this a sunrise or a sunset hike. If you do choose to go during busier hours, be aware of trail-runners. This trail is a local favorite due to the great workout in a short time frame.
Along with Camelback Mountain, this trail is a must do for any hiker who visits Phoenix. It is definitely doable for most people regardless of fitness level. It might take you longer with more stops to rest, but go at your own pace and hike your own hike. The summit and those views aren't going anywhere! As always when hiking in the desert, be aware of the weather. Temperatures can easily exceed 105 degrees and in the later part of the summer, monsoons can roll in quickly and unexpectedly. Pack plenty of water and drink consistently, stay alert, have fun, and always #AdventureLikeYouGiveADamn.