South Mountain Park & Preserve

South Mountain Park / Preserve is a point of pride for Phoenix. As the largest municipally operated park in the country, it is an enjoyable place for hiking, biking, scenic drives and beautiful vistas of the valley below.

Where can you find a castle, petroglyphs, and 50 miles of trails? Phoenix, Arizona. South Mountain is rich in environmental and cultural history. Mystery Castle was built in the 1930s by Boyce Gulley for his daughter. It’s now open for tours May thru October, and its gorgeous architecture makes it a special attraction.

Featuring amazing views of the city and desert wildlife from the trails, South Mountain has become a retreat for outdoor enthusiasts.

What is there to do at South Mountain?

At more than 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park/Preserve is one of the largest municipally managed parks in the nation and consists of three mountain ranges — the Ma Ha Tauk, Gila and Guadalupe. The extensive network of trails is perfect for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Make a day of it with plenty of covered spaces for a picnic, or barbecue—some picnic shelters even allow permitted alcohol and music for an outdoor bash.

South Mountain Park/Preserve offers outdoor fun all year long, but take extra caution in the summer months—it's no secret: Phoenix gets hot. Even in the summer, though, dawn and dusk offer great trail opportunities.

How high is South Mountain?

Dobbins Lookout, at 2,330 feet, is the highest point in the park that is available to the public. Accessed by both hiking trails and Summit Rd., the lookout is popular with tourists and locals, who want to get an unobstructed panoramic view of the Valley.

How long is the hike up South Mountain?

Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout is a 3.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Phoenix, Arizona that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

Is South Mountain Park free?

Yes. Visitors are free to access the park, trailheads, and lookout points at no cost.

What time does South Mountain close?

Park entrances open daily, 5 a.m. – 7 p.m., and trails remain open until 11 p.m. Every Sunday, the park observes "Silent Sunday" from 5 - 10 a.m. year-round. During this time, the main Central Ave. roadway is closed to motorized traffic past the one-mile mark. Every fourth Sunday, this restriction lasts for the duration of the park's operating hours. During Silent Sundays, visitors are welcomed to use the roadways for hiking, biking, walking, and other non-motorized activities.

For more information, visit

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To learn more about how you can leave no trace when exploring Arizona’s outdoors, visit

South Mountain Park / Preserve Main Entrance
10919 S Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85042
(602) 262-7398

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