Arizona is one of the sunniest states in the U.S., with around 300 days of sunshine a year in the Phoenix area. That includes the city of Glendale, which is around 10 miles away from downtown Phoenix.
It’s no wonder so-called “snowbirds” flock to the Valley of the Sun every fall and winter. In December in Glendale, the average temperature hovers at around 65°F for a high, with a low of just 44°F.
The beautiful weather makes Glendale and the Phoenix area a wonderful destination to visit. During much of the year, Glendale and the surrounding area are an ideal place to hike mountains, walk park trails and spend time outdoors.
Here are some Glendale parks, Glendale trails and spots for hiking in Glendale AZ.
The Best Things to Do Outdoors in Glendale, AZ
Play Golf: Disc or Regular
Visit the Thunderbird Paseo Park to find the 18-hole Glendale disc golf course. Bring your own flying discs and compete against family or friends.
Arizona is also home to some of the world’s best traditional golf courses. In Glendale, these include Arrowhead Country Club, Desert Mirage Golf Course and The Legend at Arrowhead. Just a short drive away from Glendale, there are dozens of other golf courses to check out in cities like Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Peoria and Sun City.
Glendale is also home to Top Golf, which combines gaming with golfing. Hit a drive off your stand, and watch as a computer tracks your ball’s movement to see if you can outscore the others in your group.
Try Hiking Near Glendale AZ
There are lots of Glendale hiking trails to explore in the 1,185-acre Thunderbird Conservation Park. Hiking here gives you a great idea of desert life, as the conservation park is home to diverse desert wildlife and the best hiking trails in Glendale.
You’ll find more than 20 miles of trails here, from easy to moderately difficult hiking trails, ranging from 0.25 to 5 miles long. Be alert as you hike. You might see animals like bobcats, mule deer, coyotes, foxes and reptiles including snakes along the way.
Tour Historic Sahuaro Ranch
The Historic Sahuaro Ranch is a 17-acre ranch that includes Sahuaro Ranch park, a rose garden, orchards and a barnyard. The site is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and provides guided tours, exhibits and activities that showcase the early settlement of the Phoenix area.
The park is surrounded by historic ranch buildings and even features on-site peacocks. There are also playgrounds, picnic areas, an off-leash dog park and sports fields, including lighted sand volleyball courts.
Visit a Glendale Park
Glendale is home to several big parks, which include easy walking and running trails for all types of abilities. Check out parks like:
- Foothills Park: Foothills Park has picnic areas and ramadas, a skate court, playgrounds, a three-sport complex and an off-leash dog park.
- Glendale Heroes Regional Park: The 81-acre Glendale Heroes Regional Park includes playgrounds, volleyball courts, an archery range, a skate park, basketball courts and a splash pad.
- Grand Canal Linear Park: The Grand Canal Linear Park has a trail that’s around 3.25 miles long that runs along the Grand Canal. The trail is paved and lighted, making it a good choice for walking, running or biking day or night. The park also has a wheelchair-accessible playground.
- Northern Horizon Park: Geared toward little ones, the safety-themed sensory Northern Horizon Park includes bicycle safety stations throughout the park, a miniature rock dodge course, a huge playground and more than 200 trees to cool off under. There are several ramadas and picnic areas, as well.
- Skunk Creek Linear Park: Skunk Creek Linear Park is a linear 3.5-mile trail that connects to Thunderbird Paseo Park. It runs along the natural creek bed Skunk Creek and is a favorite trail for bikers and horseback riders, too.
- Thunderbird Paseo Park: Thunderbird Paseo Park has around 4 miles of trails and connects to Skunk Creek Linear Park. The park’s trails are appropriate for walking and running, biking and even horseback riding. You can find amenities including playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer and football fields, and a desert interpretive garden, as well.
The parks listed here are constantly expanding and upgrading their amenities. Check the park’s website for hours and things to do.
Take a Scenic Tour
The City of Glendale partners with Arizona Scenic Tours to provide tour opportunities near the Glendale area and throughout the state of Arizona. Outdoor activities include horseback riding, jeep tours, lake cruises, historic site visits and more.
Choose from one of the planned tour itineraries. Or, tell the tour company what you’re interested in, and they’ll create a custom itinerary for your interests.
Tour the Elise McCarthy Sensory Garden
The Elise McCarthy Sensory Garden is one of the most popular Glendale gardens around. It was designed to stimulate the senses of sight, smell, touch and sound, by including touchable artwork and sensory-focused plants and amenities.
McCarthy lost her eyesight and bequest funds for a garden that would serve all abilities, including the visually handicapped. The garden includes a tactile map so those who are visually impaired can understand the layout.
The garden includes water features that engage both sight and hearing, evening lighting for nighttime visits, a sculpture with mosaic tiles, labyrinth rocks and native shrubs and trees, flowers. Visitors can touch various parts of the garden, walk through the paths or relax on a bench to take in the environment.
Glendale Is a Great Place to Explore the Great Outdoors
Desert environments in Arizona are among the most unique in the world. Glendale is home to plenty of native wildlife, flora and fauna that are stunning to admire most times of year. Even when sitting on your patio at home in Glendale, you’re likely to encounter interesting animals and plants nearby.
There’s a Senior Lifestyle community in Glendale, AZ, called Thunderbird Senior Living. It’s a wonderful location for seniors and their family members who are seeking Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care services.