According to the City of Phoenix, there are over 41,000 acres of desert mountain preserves and 185 parks in the metropolitan area. Abundant sunshine makes most days pretty perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities. If you’re ready to explore green spaces and be active, I’ve got 5 gorgeous places to get fit for free in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The Scottsdale Greenbelt
What started as a flood control project is now one of the top-rated green spaces in Arizona. Grab your bike, blades, or sneakers and take a tour through an oasis of parks, lakes, and golf courses. The Scottsdale greenbelt is more than 11 miles of beautiful paths for biking, rollerblading, jogging, or walking. Along the way you’ll discover large ponds, abundant water fowl, and tons of public art. You’ll find nature areas with educational resources as well as easy access to the Mustang and Civic Center Libraries. Bring a lunch to share in the park or stop by one of the restaurants on your path.
South Mountain Park and Preserve
Get ready to explore. South Mountain offers 16,000 acres of Sonoran desert wilderness. With 50 miles of interconnecting trails, the options are endless. Mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and equestrians are all welcome. South Mountain is the perfect place to connect with nature. Experiencing the giant saguaro and million year old magma domes puts the vastness of time in perspective. Sunrise and sunset are unbelievably beautiful and inspiring. They’re also the perfect times to spot desert wildlife like the javelina, coyote, and red tail hawk.
Tempe Town Lake
The glistening waters of Tempe Town Lake provide an inspiring space for all kinds of physical activities. You can perform boot camp-style workouts in the vast open areas of grass or you can run, walk, bike, or skate through 7 miles of paved trails around lake. Along the way you’ll discover 20 pieces of public art to enjoy. Lake access means kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and rowing are all options to stay active when visiting Tempe Town Lake. Got a group? Tempe Town Lake offers serious fun for friends and family with their sand volley ball courts.
I sometimes train my clients at Tempe Town Lake and love incorporating the natural surroundings in our routine. We’ll use the veteran’s memorial, an inspiring lookout point over the lake, for stair climbing. Then we’ll travel to the bougainvillea covered gardens for cardio drills and finish with stretching by the Art Center’s peaceful water feature. Sunrise and sunset are always magical but any day spent sweating in the sun at Tempe Town Lake will be time well spent.
The Riparian Preserve
A peaceful spot for birds and humans alike, the 110 acre Riparian in Gilbert is perfect for morning walks or a jog at sunset. Although there aren’t any pine trees, you can still get in some forest bathing. The 4.5 miles of trail weave through the various vegetation zones. Sometimes the abundant water, deep green tones, and dense shade make you forget you’re in the desert. The Riparian also provides a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of some rare and beautiful birds; close to 50 species have been spotted. Playgrounds and picnic table make the Riparian a great choice for small group get-togethers.
Steel Indian School Park
Centrally located, Steele Indian School Park offers 75 acres to explore. Paved walking trails meander throughout the park making it easy to take long strolls among mature trees, ponds, and green grass. When I was a mentor, I’d take my 8 year old mentee here to connect with nature. We’d get lost for hours walking through the trees and learning about the history of the Indian School that once existed there.
If you’re interested in boot camp-style workouts, you couldn’t ask for a better location. The City of Phoenix agrees and even offers a handy Exercise Trail Map. When I worked in downtown Phoenix, this was my go-to after work fitness spot. With half-court basket ball, volleyball courts, and picnic tables, Steel Indian School Park also offers plenty of options for family and friends to get fit together.
Final Tips on Getting Fit for Free in Phoenix
You’ve just listened to the post titled “5 Places to Get Fit for Free in Phoenix.” To ensure your outdoor activities are a success consider the follow tips.
- Water: Hydrate before, during, and after your activity. Always bring more water than you think you’ll need. If you’re hiking, be sure to turn back when you’ve consumed half of your water.
- Special Events: Always check the special events calendar of your desired location before you plan to visit. Getting caught in traffic is never a good ending to a workout.
- Weather: Our warm sunny days can dehydrate and overheat us pretty quickly when we add in physical activity. Be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sun block to protect you from prolonged exposure to the sun. Be safe and have fun!
Your Challenge: Get Fit Outdoors
Have fun creating your own outdoor workout or choose from some of my favorites.