The city of Phoenix has a number of accessible trails that wind through some of the classic Sonoran Desert habitat of the desert and mountain preserve system. Please note that some trails contain sections with grades exceeding five percent.
- Accessible Trail - Papago Park
- Judith Tunell Accessible Trail - South Mountain Park/Preserve
- Accessible Trail - Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
Barrier Free Trails
- Penny Howe Barrier Free Trail - North Mountain Park*
- Barrier Free Access Natural Trail - Reach 11 Recreation Area*
Accessible Trail - Papago Park
Length: 1.2 miles
Elevation gain: minimal
Difficulty: easy. The second half of the trail becomes more difficult for wheelchair users with a few slopes that exceed 5 percent grade.
The trailhead is located on Papago Park Road on the west side of Galvin Parkway just north of Van Buren Street (entering Papago Park Road heading east leads to the main park entrance). This is an asphalt surface that follows accessible guidelines for the first .6 of a mile. There are three benches along the way and this first part of the trail goes near the Eliot ramada. The second part of this trail has the same surface but has a few slopes that exceed 5 percent
Judith Tunell Accessible Trail - South Mountain Park Preserve
Length: 1 mile, broken into two, 1/2-mile loops.
Elevation gain: minimal
The trailhead is located at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center at 10919 S. Central Ave. (Central Avenue south of Dobbins Road). There are a number of disabled accessible parking spots at the center. The trail is open even when the center is closed.
Difficulty: The Interpretive Loop generally contains more moderate grades with a maximum grade of 7.5 percent. The Challenge Loop is slightly more difficult with a maximum grade of 8.5 percent.
This is the city's newest preserve-based accessible trail. The trail consists of two, ½-mile loops made of stabilized granite. The Interpretive Loop includes interpretive signs, water fountains, benches, three shade ramadas and a bridge over a wash. The Challenge Loop also contains ramadas, benches and water fountains.
Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
Along five miles of the Salt River just south of downtown Phoenix
Length: Approx. 4 miles on each side of the north and south river banks.
Elevation change: minimal; meets ADA standards
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs are allowed on leash, but only on hard surface trails.
Trailheads are located at: 7th Ave., Central Ave., 7th St., and 16th St. Paved parking and drinking fountains are available at all areas. There are restrooms located at Central Ave., 7th Ave., and 7th St. The trail is comprised of asphalt and has a maximum grade of 4.5 percent under the bridges.
Bird watchers have spotted more than 200 species of birds (and counting...) in Rio Salado's varied habitats from wetland ponds to mesquite bosque to cottonwood/willow forest. Hike, bike, wheelchair, jog, horseback -- anyone can access Rio Salado and experience the Salt River's rich and varied wildlife as it once was -- all in the heart of the nation's fifth largest city.
Barrier-Free Trails - Please note that portions of the paved trails listed below exceed a five percent grade, and some users may require assistance.
Penny Howe Barrier Free Trail - North Mountain Park*
Length: .3 mile
Elevation: 1,420 ft. - 1,380 ft.
The trailhead is located at the northwest corner of the Havasupai parking lot in North Mountain recreation area, located on the west side of 7th Street between Hatcher and Peoria roads. Paved parking, restrooms and drinking water are available. This self-guided nature trail includes interpretives signs on a short loop trail adjacent to the picnic areas at North Mountain. Bear to the right at the start and follow the loop in a counterclockwise direction back to the beginning. The trail is pictured above. *Please note that portions of this trail exceed a five percent grade, and visitors using wheelchairs may require assistance.
Barrier Free Access Nature Trail - Reach 11 Recreation Area
Length: .75 miles
Trail is open sunrise to sunset.
Open to people of all abilities. The trail starts 1/2 mile to the east over a concrete path.
Bicycles and horses are prohibited. The trailhead is located on the east side of Tatum Boulevard just north of Union Hills Drive. The trail is a partially paved loop that meanders through both upland and xeroriparian desert habitats that are supported by intermittent stream flows. Common plants in this habitat include mesquite, palo verde, acacia, hackberry, desert broom and ironwood. The increased density and variety of plant life in this habitat provides for additional cover, food, and water for wildlife which supports increased numbers of species and overall animal numbers. Some common wildlife species associated with this habitat include dove, quail, cottontail and jackrabbit and coyote.
Twenty different locations along the trail provide information signs on the flora and fauna that a visitor may encounter while walking the trail. The loop also features a small pond and picnic area. Please note that portions of this trail exceed a five percent grade, and visitors using wheelchairs may require assistance.
If you need assistance or have questions regarding park facilities, please call the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department at 602-534-9440.