Sunrise Mountain Trail | Hiking Trails In Peoria, AZ.

Hiking Sunrise Mountain Trail in Peoria, AZ

The city of Peoria, Arizona has developed five mountain trail systems within their limits, and Sunrise Mountain Trail sits in one of them. This trail is located in the Sunrise Mountain Preserve which is next door to a school and nestled in-between neighborhoods. The preserve provides opportunities for hikers, bikers, and trail runners to get outdoors and hit the trails.

The Sunrise Mountain Trail isn’t the only trail in the preserve, though. There are a few loops you can choose from to curate your desired level of difficulty and distances.

This guide covers the trail options in Sunrise Mountain Preserve, including Sunrise Mountain Trail. We’ll cover each loop, best time to hike, and other important details for a safe adventure.

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Sunrise Mountain Preserve Facts

  • Location | 27100 Westwing Pkwy, Peoria, AZ 85383
  • Hours | Sunrise to Sunset
  • Heat Warning | In effect April-October
  • Permits/Fees | None
  • Good for | Hikers, bikers, and trail runners
  • Dogs Allowed | Yes

Getting To The Trailhead

There are a couple different ways to access the trails within Sunrise Mountain Preserve, but the easiest and most common way is to park at the Sunrise Mountain Trailhead parking and begin your hike here.

The lot is somewhat small and about 0.25 miles from the actual trailhead. Once you park you’ll notice the pavement turns into dirt at one end of the lot, marking the way. You’ll walk down a dirt path, past a park, and on your right you’ll notice little social dirt trails leading to the base of the mountain. Hop on any of these to begin the Sunrise Mountain Trail!

Sunrise Mountain Trail hike.

3 Ways To Hike Sunrise Mountain Preserve

I’ll be honest- it took me a couple times to really understand the trail system in the Sunrise Mountain Preserve. You’ll find that AllTrails has named them different than what the preserve trail map says, and the signs while hiking were super confusing because all the trails intersect with one another.

To make it easy I’m going to refer to the trails as they are named on the Sunrise Mountain Preserve trail map. I highly suggest taking a look at the map before visiting and maybe even printing it off for your first visit.

There are three main loops within the preserve that make for great hiking trails, as well as other miscellaneous small trails that meander off in different directions (you’ll see these on the map). Let’s dive deeper into each of these loop options below.

Sunrise Mountain Trail Aka Sunrise Loop

  • Easy route
  • 1.5 mile loop
Sunrise Mountain Trail Map.

The Sunrise Mountain Trail begins at the Sunrise Mountain trailhead and is the beginning point for all three loops. But if you’re looking for a short and easy hike with not too much elevation gain you can hike the entire Sunrise Mountain Trail which creates the Sunrise Loop.

This small loop has decent views, but in all honesty they are not great for sunrise. The trail itself doesn’t actually face the sunrise, and the sun rises behind the mountains to the East, which seem to have a better view. This short loop is great for beginners but not anything to rave about. Instead, I highly suggest adventuring a little further and intersecting with the Saguaro Family Loop.

Saguaro Family Loop

  • Intermediate route
  • 3.15 mile loop
Sunrise Mountain Preserve.

For a more intermediate loop you can hike the Saguaro Family Loop which doubles the distance of Sunrise Mountain Trail/ Sunrise Loop. You’ll find that this loop climbs a bit more elevation and takes you further back into the preserve, providing even different views.

The Saguaro Family Loop has stretches of shade because the mountainside blocks the sun, although which side will depend on the time of day. The trail has its steep parts but pleasant sections of level ground as well. This was my favorite loop in this preserve because it seemed to be a happy medium between length, difficulty, and great views!

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging and longer in distance, you may enjoy connecting several trails together to hike a big loop through the preserve.

Sunrise Loop, Saguaro Family Loop, and Sunrise Ridgeline

  • More difficult route
  • 4.2 mile loop
Sunrise Mountain Preserve.

By connecting the Sunrise Loop, Saguaro Family Loop, and a portion of the Sunrise Ridgeline Trail you can create a nice sized loop that takes you a little further in distance and climbs more elevation. This route isn’t difficult for experienced hikers but for the average hiker it may be on the difficult side. Regardless, it is the more difficult of any of the loop options here.

If you’re considering this loop for better views, I’ll tell you I don’t think it is worth the extra milage and effort. I wasn’t very impressed with the views since the back side of the loop overlooks the freeway and traffic becomes very loud. If you’re in it for the distance and workout- definitely do this one!

You also have the option of cutting out the Saguaro Family Loop section and hiking the entire Sunrise Ridgeline Trail. This option is even more difficult because the beginning of the Ridgeline Trail is very steep with a series of switchbacks.

Regardless of which loop you choose to hike I’m certain you’ll enjoy your time. I’m always thankful for mountain preserves and parks nestled in our neighborhoods that make it easy for us to get on the trails!

Looking for another easy to moderate trail nearby? Check out Calderwood Butte Trail- A Hidden Gem In Peoria

Sunrise Mountain Trail.

Best Time To Hike Sunrise Mountain Trail

Of course the preserve received its name for a reason- it is a good mountain to be on for sunrise! Or so someone thought. I on the other hand was not super impressed with the sunrise and if you’re looking for those epic sunrise shots they’re difficult to get here. Maybe I wasn’t in the right spot for the sunrise views, but the preserve does only open at sunrise so I can’t imagine having enough time to get any further.

On the other hand I found sunset to be a beautiful time to be on the Sunrise Loop because you get that yellow-orange glow without any other mountains obstructing the light rays. Regardless of sunrise or sunset it is just nice to be able to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Sunrise Mountain Preserve does have a heat warning effect that runs from April to October. This is because during these months the temperatures are dangerously high and it is not smart to be out hiking. If you choose to hike during these months make sure you get up early enough for sunrise and keep it quick and short!

Preparation saves lives. Know where you are going ahead of time and always have a way to keep yourself on trail. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app like Gaia GPS.

You can download my Sunrise Mountain Trial hike and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your own trusty device for ease of mind!

Sunrise Mountain Preserve signage.

Tips For Hiking Sunrise Mountain Preserve

  • Mountain bikers do frequent this trail. Keep an ear open for them because they zip by pretty fast! According to trail etiquette you have the right of way, but it is easier if hikers move over for bikers. If you can step aside and let them ride past.
  • The preserve is popular for dog owners! The trail system here is dog friendly and just about all of the locals bring theirs.
  • There are steep, rocky sections which make it easy to knock you off balance. Take it slow and if you use trekking poles I suggest bringing them.
  • Even though the trails may be short and populated don’t forget to pack the necessities!
  • Download or print the park map before your visit. You can also download the Gaia GPS app to track yourself and know where you are at all times!

Gear For Short Urban Hikes

  • Sturdy hiking shoes are always a must. A lot of short, urban hikes around the Phoenix valley have rocky trails so I love wearing my Adidas Terrex because they are durable and have excellent grip.

  • Hiking pack with water reservoir. I love using my Camelback pack and 1.5L water reservoir (they came together) because it is lightweight but also has pockets to store my phone and a protein bar. It is nice being able to have my hands free while hiking and easier to stay hydrated while on the go.

  • Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are a must in the desert! To help protect myself from the sun I like using Coola Sunscreen because it is organic and safe for both myself and the outdoor environment. If I wear a hat I usually wear my Under Armor cap or a bucket hat for more coverage.

Recap On Hiking Sunrise Mountain Trail

I’m fortunate to live close to the Sunrise Mountain Trailhead and have been able to frequent it over the past year. I like to bring both of my dogs- German Shepard and Alaskan Malamute- and they both do wonderful here.

I’ve even brought my mother-in-law who is more of an easy to intermediate level hiker. She did the Saguaro Loop like a breeze, however she did mention she was slightly fatigued towards the end due to the climb in elevation.

I hope you enjoy your time in the outdoors no matter which trail you hike. While the Sunrise Mountain Preserve is surrounded by neighborhoods and you still see the homes during your hike, it is worth the effort if you’re wanting to get out!

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2 thoughts on “Hiking Sunrise Mountain Trail in Peoria, AZ

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sunrise Mountain Preserve does have a heat warning effect that runs from October to April. This statement should read April to October.

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