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Just north of Arizona's capital city, Phoenix, is a group of mountains, parks, and desert landscapes, that have come to be known as the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, North Mountain, Shaw Buttes Preserve, and Phoenix Sonoran Preserve all make up the majority of this 41,000-acre space. Interstate Route 17 runs past the park's western boundaries, which makes it easy enough to access in your RV rental. No matter whether you're traveling from Flagstaff, Tucson, or the center of Phoenix itself, you'll be lacing up those hiking boots ready to scale a peak in less than two hours from setting off.
Extensive and well-maintained hiking trails wind through the preserve and to the top of mountains and make sure as little damage is done to the natural environment as possible. For this reason, little other activity is allowed in the park, with the exception of horseback and biking riding on a limited number of trails. Luckily, there are enough hiking paths to keep you occupied for days when you book an RV in Maricopa County.
Keen hikers are drawn to camping at Phoenix Mountain Preserve for one reason, and one reason only, and that is the sheer amount of fantastic and varied hikes available in such a small space. Rising 1,420 feet above sea level, Camelback Mountain is the tallest peak in the area, and perfect for visitors hoping to challenge themselves. Hikers can choose from two trails, either Echo Canyon or Cholla Trail, that will eventually lead to stunning panoramic views from the top of the mountain. Rated as difficult, hikers should be prepared for sections of rock-climbing, bouldering, and even scrabbling their way through the, sometimes, unclearly marked paths.
Those looking for a slightly easier time while RV camping at Phoenix Mountain Preserve should make their way to Piestewa Peak, where the four-mile Freedom Trail provides an easy stroll around the base of the mountain and a glimpse at the area's fascinating desert flora and fauna. From the elusive desert tortoise and cottontail rabbits to the prickly pear cacti and palo verde trees, you're bound to see something you've never seen before on your adventures!
Papago Park is where all of the mountain biking adventures take place. With a mixture of easy and intermediate trails, this is an excellent spot for any novice riders motorhome camping in the area. No matter which of the trails you decide to go for, whether it be the longer Ramada Loop or shorter Ranger Office Loop, you can enjoy views over the Desert Botanical Garden and can even catch a glimpse into Phoenix Zoo! Most of these trails are also open to horseriders. However, some of the most highly recommended trails reside in South Mountain Park, where the Desert Classic Trail, Javalina Trail, and the Ranger Trail are suitable for a mixture of ability levels.
Despite its seemingly urban location, there are a surprising number of places to set up camp when you have an RV rental near Phoenix Mountain Preserve. One of the best options, which is only a ten-minute drive from the park, is the Covered Wagon RV Park in Glendale. The site comprises of over 50 spacious pitches with full hook-ups, a shared swimming pool, well-maintained washrooms, and laundry facilities. Along with its plethora of facilities, the campsite even welcomes your furry friend to come along for the adventure.
A second option is to set up camp in the palm-tree lined Royal Palm RV park. Although this site primarily caters to long-term residents, they offer daily and weekly rates for any RV users traveling through the area. As a gated community, this is one of the safest places to set up camp and, along with fully equipped camping sites, provides access to WiFi, laundry facilities, a games room, and more.
When you rent a camper near Phoenix Mountain Preserve, you'll be in the perfect position to explore Arizona's vibrant capital city. Flaunting quirky museums, family-friendly spaces, and historical landmarks, there's something for everybody in Phoenix.
Phoenix Zoo is a must-visit for any families or animal lovers renting an RV in the area. Covering four separate zones, The Arizona Trail, African Trail, Tropics Trail, and Children's Trail, why not set aside a whole day to explore everything this 125-acre zoo has to offer. All in all, the zoo houses more than 1,400 animals, including species native to Arizona - coyote, Mexican wolf and bobcat - and those found in other parts of the world like the ostrich, white rhino, Komodo dragon, and Sumatran tigers.
The Heard Museum is a great option for any campers with a keen interest in history and art. Here, American Indian Art is carefully preserved and widely celebrated, from its traditional murals to its contemporary paintings. There are more than 11 galleries to explore, with each space dedicated to a different local tribe from Arizona. You can even purchase some authentic pieces from the gift shop to take away as a memory of your visit.
Perhaps one of Phoenix's most unique museums is the Musical Instrument Museum. Established in 2010, this museum now has a collection of 16,000 instruments from 200 destinations across the world. Along with endless displays of these objects, visitors can enjoy videos of local musicians playing native instruments and even catch a live show in the 300-seat theatre.