Type: Hiking & Biking Trail
Location: Deem Hills Recreation Area
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 5.73 – 8.2 Miles
Hiking Rating: Great
Biking Rating: Good
Last Hiked On: May 10, 2013
Map: Google Map : City of Phoenix PDF Map
Deem Hills is great park with long, varied trails that are well marked. Unlike most mountains in Phoenix, Deem Hills does not have a lot of unmarked trails. This makes it really easy to stay on track and easier to lose yourself in the hike as opposed to getting lost on the trails. The Circumference Trail offers very exposed areas that allow you to see the trail for miles and also areas with “dense” desert vegetation. See the pictures below to get an idea of what I think of as dense vegetation for the Phoenix area.
Deem Hills is a smartly laid out trail system. The Circumference Trail makes the most of the size of the park while the Basalt, Palisade, and Ridgeline trails act as connectors. These connector trails make it easy to vary the length of your outing.
The main park entrance off of Deem Hills Parkway has ample parking, good water and toilet facilities, large open fields, a basketball court, very nice play structures.
The second parking area on 39th Avenue is quite spartan in comparison. No toilet and when I was there the water fountain was out of order. There is a small ramada, trail map poster (bleached by the sun), and nothing else. There are far fewer parking spaces. It is still a pleasant enough parking area and offers direct access to the trails. And in what is either coincidence, or further proof of good planning, it is exactly on the opposite end of the park from the main entrance.
Clear trails, varied landscape, and great vistas make this a joy to hike. There are a few areas of sustained ascents, but they are quite moderate in inclination. Deem Hills is a nice place to go for a long walk. The route laid out below mostly follows the Circumference Trail, but takes a detour to the Ridgeline Trail for added length, elevation, and vistas.
Hiking in Phoenix makes you accustomed to seeing a broad landscaped and trails laid out ahead of you. But Deem Hills takes this to the next level. There are many areas where you can see the trail you are on stretch out literally for miles ahead of you.
This is a good solid cross country trail with a lot of switchbacks and not a lot of technical areas. I’d almost recommend this as a novice ride, but the South side of the Circumference Trail has Phoenix’s obligatory rocky washed out ascents that will be frustrating to novice riders. The North side is easier, novice riders would do well to head North from either trailhead. The 39th Avenue offers a very easy start.