Tag Archives: South Mountain

HotAirBalloon, WEB

Five things to do before summer in Arizona

While Phoenix natives enjoy beautiful weather in the fall and winter, it’s tough for anyone to stand outside for more than a couple minutes during the hot summer months. So, here are five outdoor activities to do with family and friends before triple-digit temperatures hit the Valley.

Lost Dutchman Trail

Lost Dutchman Trail


Arizona is home to some of the most spectacular hikes in the country.  From Camelback Mountain to the Superstitions, there is no shortage of gorgeous trails that are close to home for many.  If you haven’t checked out these hikes yet, then there’s still time.

●    Hieroglyphic Trail –  Gold Canyon, AZ 85118
●    The Lost Dutchman State Park
●    First Water Trailhead – Srv Road 78, Arizona 85219

Have a picnic at Tempe Town Lake

Close to Mill Avenue and Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake is a great place to jog, walk your dog, play Frisbee or enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic.  Set up camp right up next to the bank on a beautiful Friday afternoon after a long week.

Spring Training

One of the best times of the year is getting the chance to watch one of the 15 Cactus League teams playing at the 10 spring training venues around the Valley. Even if you are not a huge fan of baseball, Chicago Cubs’ Sloan Park is worth checking out.  Plus, Mesa Riverview shopping mall and recreational area is nearby.

HorseRidingGo horseback riding

Horse lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike can enjoy beautiful guided rides at the Ponderosa Livery Stable at South Mountain Park.  There are more than 50 miles of trails through 18,000 acres of the beautiful Sonoran Desert.  There is nowhere else you can get the same taste of the western life and the “Cowboy Way” while enjoying beautiful scenery with family and friends.

Hot air ballooning

Want an unforgettable bird’s eye view of the desert?  Let Hot Air Expeditions take you up in the clouds, while a guide points out the McDowell, White Tank and Mazatzal mountains, Lake Pleasant, Weavers Needle and downtown Phoenix.  The San Francisco Peaks may also been seen on a clear day.  Hot Air Expeditions also offers a post-flight gourmet meal after every hot air balloon excursion.

Shea Homes to open Ahwatukee luxury condos

Shea Homes Arizona just closed escrow on 69 condominium units in WestStone’s Vantage Condominium community on the northwest corner of 5th Ave. and Chandler Blvd. in Ahwatukee.

Started by WestStone in 2007, only 58 condos were built before being put up for sale. Vantage is one of the last new condominium developments in Ahwatukee and offers unmatched amenities including two swimming pools and spa, a movie theater, fitness center, and clubhouse.

Traditionally a single family home builder, Shea Homes has recently been diversifying its portfolio and this will be the first time the Arizona division of Shea Homes will build condos. Shea is re-engineering the existing plans to reflect the quality it’s known for, including energy efficiency and supreme workmanship, as well as to bring the units up to current construction code standards.

The condos range from 1,432 to 2,067 square feet, offering both two and three bedroom options, with two baths and two-car garages. Model construction will start in the spring and the community is estimated to open in fall of 2015. Pricing is estimated to start in the high 200’s.

“We are always looking for great land opportunities which provide our customers with housing solutions and this community was one of those,” said Ken Peterson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Shea Homes Arizona. “With its incredible views, amenities and being so close to great shopping, golfing, food and freeway access, we are really excited to get started.”

Vantage is walking distance from South Mountain Preserve, a 16,000- acre park with more than 58 trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.


Work It Out Wednesday: Take a Night Hike

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

The view from Squaw Peak at night.

The view from Squaw Peak at night.

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:

Hieroglyphics Canyon 

Lost Goldmine Trail 

Papago Park  – open until 11 p.m.

South Mountain  – open until 11 p.m.

Piestewa Peak  – open until 11 p.m.


First Tee of Phoenix adds 5 affiliates

The First Tee of Phoenix Executive Director, Hugh Smith, announced that the organization will open new programming sites at all five City of Phoenix golf courses in 2013 including Cave Creek Golf Club, Encanto Golf Course, Palo Verde Golf Course, Maryvale Golf Course and Aguila Golf Course. Expansion will begin at Cave Creek Golf Club in January of 2013 and will continue with the remaining four courses throughout the year. These five new City of Phoenix courses will join the existing facilities located at Lone Tree, South Mountain, Desert Mirage, Papago, Longbow and Falcon Dunes.

“This is an amazing time for us,” said Smith. “The number of Valley youth interested in golf is constantly growing and in order to accommodate that demand we need to expand. By this time next year, The First Tee of Phoenix will have 11 affiliate locations here in the Valley.”

A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, January 5th at Cave Creek Golf Club from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and will include: special guest appearances; a trick shot show from Peter Longo the “King of Clubs”; a junior clinic; free lunch and giveaways for all who attend.  Multi-level programming will begin shortly thereafter and will be available year-round, both during the week and on weekends with registration beginning on December 4th. The First Tee of Phoenix—created and supported by The Thunderbirds—is open to all youth ages 7-17 at a modest cost of $60 per year.

“This is a great opportunity for youth in our city to learn valuable life skills as well as golf, especially for those who might not have the opportunity otherwise,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “The future of our city depends on our youth and we need to do everything we can to make sure they have positive experiences and become civic leaders of the next generation.”

The programming sites at each of the City of Phoenix courses are community driven with volunteer assistance coming from the Men’s and Women’s Clubs at each course as well as the surrounding community. Those interested in volunteering can attend one of The First Tee of Phoenix Volunteer Training Session scheduled throughout the year. The training is free of charge and includes details of The First Tee program and The First Tee coaching philosophy. For more details about volunteer opportunities or to RSVP for one of the training sessions, call 602.305.7655.

“As a junior golfer, I was fortunate to play many rounds at Cave Creek Golf Course,” Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates said.  “Not only did my game improve as a result of playing golf on City of Phoenix courses, but I also learned many life lessons that I carry with me today. Thanks to this partnership between The First Tee and the City of Phoenix, many more young people in our community will have the opportunity to play golf and experience the countless benefits that the game delivers.”

The First Tee of Phoenix is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created and funded by The Thunderbirds for the purpose of providing affordable access to golf and golf learning facilities for young people in Maricopa County from all walks of life, particularly those who otherwise might not have an opportunity to play.  The organization offers classes, special monthly family events and tournaments throughout the year.  With 11 locations in the Valley – South Mountain, Desert Mirage, Papago, Longbow, Falcon Dunes, Lone Tree and now all City of Phoenix courses – The First Tee of Phoenix programming sites serve as a place for participants to learn valuable life skills and character lessons through creative activities and instructional programs that incorporate the fundamental teachings of golf.  For more information on The First Tee of Phoenix, call (602) 305-7655, or log on to their website at www.thefirstteephoenix.org.

The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports.  Consisting of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members, The Thunderbirds host the Waste Management Phoenix Open; the best-attended golf tournament in the world, which to date has raised nearly $80 million for Valley charities, including the First Tee of Phoenix. With its unmatched fan participation and rich history dating back more than 78 years, The Waste Management Phoenix Open has gained legendary status for being a unique stop on the PGA TOUR. For more information on The Thunderbirds or the Waste Management Phoenix Open, call 602.870.0163 or visit www.WasteManagementPhoenixOpen.com.

Kimpton Paloma Pool Area

Kimpton Palomar Hotel Set To Open June 5

The countdown is on for the opening of the 242-room Kimpton Palomar Hotel at CityScape in Downtown Phoenix.

The 225,000 SF boutique hotel at 2 E. Jefferson St. is scheduled to open June 5, company officials said yesterday during a hard hat tour of the property.

The Kimpton will occupy 10 floors in the second tower of CityScape. Of its 242 rooms, 116 will be deluxe rooms, including 16 suites and 12 studio rooms. There will be a 1,400 SF presidential suite and a 900 SF junior presidential suite. The 520 SF studio rooms will include soaking tubs in the bathrooms.

It will also include 10,000 SF of flexible meeting space, 2,700 SF of pre-function space and 10 meeting rooms, including a high-tech boardroom for 15 guests. The 6,000 SF pool deck and pool bar area will be available for private functions.

The new hotel will also feature a signature restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.

The hotel’s rooms offer views of South Mountain, Chase Field and US Airways Center. The pool deck area also overlooks Downtown Phoenix.

The Kimpton Palomar plans to hire 150 employees once it opens, and officials said that number could rise to 250 in the future. (For information on a job fair, visit kimptonhotels.com).

Kimpton, headquartered in San Francisco, owns 55 properties across the U.S. The Palomar, Kimpton’s lifestyle boutique brand, is in Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Hunt Construction Co. is the general contractor and Callison is the architect.