This popular hiking trail was formerly known as Squaw Peak, rises to an elevation of 2,608 feet and is a highlight of Phoenix’s skyline. It is located in north-central Phoenix.
The Summit Trail gains 1,190 feet in altitude in 1.2 miles, making it both strenuous and difficult and recommended for experienced hikers. The trail was built by a wrangler at the nearby Arizona Biltmore Hotel around 1930, and draws 4,000 to 10,000 hikers a week, making it one of the nation’s busiest. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted.
The peak was named in 2008 after Spc. Lori Piestewa, a Navajo soldier who was killed in the Iraq War in 2003. She was the first Native American woman to die in U.S. combat.
The area around the peak is home to a variety of cacti, plus palo verde, mesquite and ironwood trees, and creosote and sage bushes, plus rattlesnakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, squirrels, Gambel’s quail, turkey vultures, cactus wrens, owls, and hawks.
There are 10 other trails in the city-owned Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area near
Piestewa Peak. They range from .4 of a mile to 10.7 miles in length, and most are rated easy to moderate, offering hikers the ability to escape the city for a walk through undeveloped Sonoran Desert.