As the temperatures in Phoenix start rising that means your options for hikes are limited in the valley. Luckily there is some excellent trails around the valley that allow for prime night hiking. These are a few of my favorites.
Hidden Valley Via Mormon Trailhead-
Park/Region- South Mountain
Accumulative Elevation Gain- 850ft
Difficulty- Easy trail following at night, lots of signs with reflective markers
Link- Hidden Valley Via Mormon Trailhead
This is my go-to trail for beginner night hikes. The distance is moderate and the trail is well marked. The hike is a lasso which also makes beginner navigating easier. Along this trail you may spot some small nocturnal creatures, but due to heavy use it is not likely. You will be rewarded with excellent views of the city for very little effort. While hiking through Hidden Valley there are two significant formations that make the hike even more interesting. The first is 'Fat Man's Pass' which is two rocks that you have to squeeze between. There is also a natural tunnel that you go through, which is quite interesting considering you are in a city park. There is no water along the trail so make sure you bring enough. Also the parking at the trailhead closes at dusk (they won't let you enter, but if you are already in the lot they will let you out obviously). The best option if beginning the hike after dark is to park along 24th Street. Please make sure to not block anyone's driveway and respect the 'No Parking' signs.
Mesquite Willow Loop-
Park/Region- White Tank Mountains
Accumulative Elevation Gain- 1500ft
Difficulty- Moderate due to less trail markings then some trails
Link- Mesquite Willow Loop
The Mesquite Willow Loop in the White Tanks is the night hike I always suggest for people who want a taste of what night hiking has to offer. Due to the distance from downtown Phoenix and the lack of use the park receives the wildlife thrives here. When doing this hike I saw multiple owls, scorpions, rodents, deer and coyotes. This was all within the three hours of hiking. The trail has some decent climbing and some views of downtown Phoenix. The only catch to this hike is how to complete it as a night hike. When we were there the gates were closed and locked at 8PM (Sunday-Thursday) and 10PM (Friday and Saturday). When we completed our hike and made it back we realized we were locked inside. After a hour of trying to locate the resident caretaker we were able to leave the park. The gentlemen was nice but not particularly thrilled about having to leave his trailer to let us out. Additionally there is a fee to enter the park, which I think is well worth the experience.
Hackberry Spring Loop-
Distance- 5.15 Miles
Accumulative Elevation Gain- 700ft
Difficulty- Moderate due to route finding, it is the Supes after all
Link- Hackberry Spring Loop
Another one of my favorite areas to hike, the Superstitions. This is an easy hike in regards to elevation profile and mileage. The navigating can be difficult if you don't have the GPS track or have not done the trail in the daylight. Don't let that discourage you. The trail follows through a narrow canyon (not super narrow, but the walls are impressive). There is a potential water source, but it is only a five mile hike.....come on. After passing through the canyon the trail opens up and then reconnects with heavier used Superstition trails. The best part about this hike is there is no gate, you could decide to do it at anytime.