Phoenix With Kids

Dobbins Lookout, South Mountain in Phoenix

We have the perfect place for a lovely family adventure: South Mountain!

This Phoenix park offers hiking trails for all levels, picnic spots, a nature center, and a short drive up to an amazing lookout point. And it’s all free!

Start off at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center, where you can learn about local wildlife, the history of Phoenix, and more. The kids especially loved the collection of animal skulls, and picked up some fun facts from the staff.

This spot also has restrooms, and is the start for the Judith Tunell Trail, which has two paved paths to explore. One is about half a mile, and the other is a mile round trip. There are interpretive signs along both trails! The half mile trail also has some petroglyphs to view. Come back to the nature center for snacks at the shaded picnic tables.

If you’re looking for longer and more difficult trails, we’ve enjoyed the Holbert Trail, and the Hidden Valley/Mormon Loop Trail. Always remember when hiking to bring plenty of water, and stay on the trail!

But wait, there’s more! Definitely take the 20 min scenic drive up South Mountain, where you’ll find Dobbins Lookout. The views are fantastic! The kids were in awe of how high we were (2,300+ feet). This is a popular spot to watch the sunset in Phoenix as well, with unobstructed panoramic views.

And just outside of the park entrance is Scorpion Gulch, location of an old home and store built back in the 1930’s. The public is welcome to wander the ruins (makes great photo backgrounds!), and there’s a horse stable next door.

South Mountain Park is located at 10409 S Central Ave, Phoenix, 85042 – this is the address for the nature center, which is open 9am-3pm, TH-Sun. The park is open 5am-7pm.


  • Jana Tingom

    Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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