Hike | Shaw Butte Trail | Phoenix



Shaw Butte Trail is located near North Mountain in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The trail is best hiked during the morning hours, as it is moderately trafficked. This trail offers scenic views of all angles of the city. Dog-friendly to dogs on leash. This trail is used mostly for hiking, trail running, and views of the surrounding area.


  • Length: 4.2 miles
  • Trail Type: Loose rock
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 814 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes
  • Accessibility: Tons of parking with access to trail in two areas.
  • Hours: 5AM-7PM, with extended hours until 9 PM during Summer


Shaw Butte Trail is frequently trafficked by those who live nearby and is a moderate trail. The first mile is relatively flat, but as you round the first mountain you will make your ascent up towards Shaw Butte at an incline for the rest of the trail. The trail is well marked and easily followed all the way up.

The trail itself makes for a great workout with three switchbacks on your way up the mountain to get to the top.

As you make your way up, you will see all of Phoenix from every direction. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way to take in the views of the city. Some spots on the trail have been paved, but most is loose rock and dirt. The trail is wide and offers plenty of room for all passersby.

Once you reach the top, you will be able to take in a full 360 view of Phoenix. There are plenty of rocks at the top to sit and catch your breath. Be sure to bring a camera as pictures are a must!


Getting to Shaw Butte Trail is fairly easy. Find your way to North Mountain Visitor Center and you’ll get the full experience of the 4.2-mile hike from the trailhead to the left of the visitor center. You can also choose to join Shaw Butte Trail through Trail 306 and make your way up from the parking lot to the right of the visitor center.

There is plenty of parking in the North Mountain Visitor Center parking lot.



  • For this trail, you need the right kind of shoes. Hiking boots are a must and definitely worth it as the loose rock will make it a difficult descent in regular tennis shoes.
  • Bring water! As the weather heats up, the incline on this trail will have you dehydrated in a heartbeat.
  • Pick up after your pups. This trail is very dog-friendly, but you MUST pick up after your pet.
  • Take your time. This hike is not as steep as North Mountain or Camelback, but do not overextend yourself if you need to rest.


This blog was thoughtfully written by Erin Maxon.  You can find her on Instagram @airmax14 and her four-legged pal @the_downwarddog.

* Please remember to hike at your own risk. To learn more please refer to our Hiking Disclaimer