I just moved to Phoenix after only hiking in GA/Appalachia all of my life. Are there any great hikes in the Valley or surrounding areas you just have to do? I'm hesitant to go out right now with how hot it is, but I want to start exploring the area this fall.
Arizona is a hiking/outdoors paradise. You vary your destinations with the seasons - hike high in the summer, low in the winter.
Right now is an excellent time to climb the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, visit the Grand Canyon north Rim, or sample the high country near Showlow. Just be aware of the afternoon rains which are particularly troublesome right now..
To the south, you have Tucson, a low desert area, but with high country less than an hour drive from downtown. Saguaro National Park has trails leading to 8,000 Mica Mountain abd Rincon Peak. mt. Wrightson (Baldy) is just to the south. I must mention Baboquivari Peak, my fave spot of all, a mildly technical summit which does require a rope.
Let's not forget the Blue Range, the Chiricahuas in the far SE, and the Navajo Nation in the NE. if you venture there (highly recommended) don't miss Canyon de Chelly.
Those are some of the highlights, just off the top of my head. There are about a bazillion National Parks, National Monuments, wilderness areas, and the like - enough to keep you busy exploring for a lifetime.
Can you tell I like Arizona? Went to University in Tucson many moons ago and worked mainly in the state for twenty five years before my career took me to California. My happy recollections allow me to assure you that you will have a great time. The surrounding states are pretty nice, as well....
Live Long and prosper!!
One more thing. You are coming into a very different climate compared to the east coast. Humidity is much lower. Carry more water than you think you will need. I recall that my first year in Arizona was the roughest, as my body got used to the new conditions. Take it easy....
Here are my Southern Arizona trail recommendations:
Best Time of Year: October through April.
Picacho Peak State Park:
Catalina State Park:
Oracle State Park:
Pima County Trails:
Mt. Lemmon Trails (April through October):