By James Gorman

GPS: 33°32'N 112°04'W

So big is South Mountain Park (16,500 acres [6,677 hectares] to be exact) that its sun-blasted expanse contains not one but three mountain ranges. A well-designed network of trails explores rocky heights and cactus-speckled desert, anchored by the 14.3-mile-long (23-kilometer-long) National Trail, which runs the length of the park on a high ridge.

Vitals: Get maps at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center; phoenix.gov/parks.

Originally published in the April 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure


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