By Meg Krivanec
It’s no secret that the Valley is home to an array of hikes and ideal weather. Hiking allows you to enjoy the outdoors and get the leg workout of the century without making the commitment of camping — you don’t have to pitch a tent or make a fire.
Night hikes offer a new twist on Arizona hiking and allow you to undertake a nature
adventure. The sun’s gone down, so the Valley has cooled down a bit. Also, when you get to the end of your hike, the city lights below mixed with scattered stars above can’t be beat. The mixture of modern industrial living and staring up at the stars mesmerizes the senses, making the experiences truly unforgettable.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to keep this majestic adventure a safe one.
Flashlight: When going on a night hike, the most important tool has to be your flashlight. If you’re going in a group, make sure the person holding the light stands in back to illuminate the paths for the rest of the group. The ideal situation is for everyone to bring some kind of light.
Water: Depending on the length of your hike, you may want to bring two or three bottles of water. Don’t forget your cell phone in case of an emergency! The last place you want to be is lying on the ground with a sprained ankle a mile into the trail.
First Aid Kits aren’t the worst idea either. This can come in handy when bushes jet out and scrape your forearm or calf. Make sure you have Neosporin to minimize the risk of infections.
Footwear: Going up the mountain might seem harder than going down, and while going up can make you breathe heavy, the steep incline on the way down warrants caution. Make sure to wear appropriate hiking footwear and clothes or your feet will be regretting the decision the next day.
Camera: This hike is the perfect time to bust out your camera and take some photos of the city. You may need to bring a small tripod or find a sturdy rock to rest your camera on so the photos won’t become blurry because of low light conditions.
Friends: The climb up takes less out of you with friends helping and cheering you along. The top of the peak can turn from just a magical view to an unforgettable evening with your best friends, and the climb down will seem much less terrifying while holding onto your best friend’s shoulder.
Though you can’t hike at night in Scottsdale (the Scottsdale Preserve is only open from sunrise to sunset), trails in nearby cities are just a short drive away and open much later.
Where to go night hiking:
Papago Park - open until 11 p.m.
South Mountain - open until 11 p.m.
Piestewa Peak - open until 11 p.m.