Your 2023 Guide to Moonlight Hiking in Arizona

Your 2023 Guide to Moonlight Hiking in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Arizona State Parks and Trails

By Teresa K. Traverse

August 24, 2023

Moonlight hiking is exactly what it sounds like: Hikers don their activewear and sturdy shoes, grab their flashlights and explore the desert after the sun has set. When those temps soar during the day, hiking at night when it cools down can be refreshing. If you’re looking to try out night hiking, a variety of locations all over Arizona offer guided night hikes, some of which are themed, so you can try it out in a safe way. Here are five cool places in Arizona where you can take night hikes. 

Take note: Night hiking obviously has risks, even with a guide. The inherent short-sightedness involved in night-hiking can make it easy to trip over rocks or make any number of mistakes, so be cautious where your feet are. If you’re just starting, be sure not to go it alone. It’s also important to bring a fully charged cell phone, a flashlight with a full battery (headlamps are most convenient), and plenty of water. Read more about how to night hike safely on REI’s website

Full Moon Hikes at Red Rock State Park

4050 Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona

Now through September, dates & times vary

Your 2023 Guide to Moonlight Hiking in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Arizona State Parks and Trails

Sedona’s Red Rock State Park offers guided Full Moon Hikes in the evenings from April through September. Located on 286 acres, Red Rock State Park is a nature preserve that features views of Sedona’s signature red rocks. The park is well known for its diverse programming. Hikers can look forward to watching the sunset and moonrise from overlooks in the park, with hike leaders pointing out natural resources and landmarks along the way. 

Participants must bring water and a flashlight and are expected to arrive 30 minutes prior to start time. The hike covers between 2 to 2.5 miles and typically lasts between two and two-and-a-half hours. Cost is $15 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 928-282-6907. Learn more on the Arizona State Parks Instagram account.

Creatures of the Night Walk at Lake Pleasant Regional Park 

41402 N. 87th Avenue, Peoria

Aug. 31, 7:30-9 p.m.

Ranger Eric will lead hikers on a roughly 2-mile hike at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Peoria to search for nocturnal creations on Aug. 31. Participants will meet at the Desert Outdoor Center and follow that relatively easy trail. You’ll be searching for snakes, scorpions, spiders, and other nighttime animals, which explains why pets are not allowed. 

The hike is limited to 12 participants. Email Ranger Eric at [email protected] to secure your spot. Additional Creatures of the Night Walks will take place throughout the summer at locations like Estrella Mountain Regional Park and Hassayampa River Preserve. 

Full Moon Hike at Lost Dutchman State Park

6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction 

Sept. 29, 6 p.m. 

Your 2023 Guide to Moonlight Hiking in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Arizona State Parks and Trails

Hikers will meet at the Cholla Day Use area at Lost Dutchman State Park at 6 p.m. on Sept. 29 for a guided night hike. This curated program involves watching the sunset over the Superstition Mountains—a stunning mountain range in south metro Phoenix that is steeped in history—as a ranger stops at certain points along the trail to interpret what you see. 

The trail is 1.5 miles long and relatively easy. Participants are advised to wear sturdy shoes and bring water along with a small flashlight. These events are weather-permitting and pets are not allowed. Registration costs $10 per person and is for those ages 10 and up. Learn more on the Arizona State Parks Instagram account.

Glowing Scorpions Night Hike at Oracle State Park

3820 Wildlife Drive, Oracle 

Aug. 26, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Your 2023 Guide to Moonlight Hiking in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Arizona State Parks and Trails

Grab your black lights and get ready to search for scorpions at night during this guided night hike in Tucson’s Oracle State Park. A ranger will lead this one-hour hike in the park that starts at 7:30 p.m. The scorpions glow under black lights, so that’s what you’ll be using. Think that’s a nifty fact? Be prepared to learn a whole lot more about these nightcrawlers. 

Sabino Canyon Crawler Night Tours

5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road in Tucson 

OK, so this isn’t technically a night hike, per se, but we wanted to share this night-time recreational opportunity with you. The Sabino Canyon Crawler—the vehicle that transports guests through Tucson’s gorgeous Sabino Canyon—will offer night tours on Saturdays through October starting at 8 p.m. Enjoy this evening tour of the canyon while listening to a guided narration. Headsets are supplied. Riders can enjoy narrated tours in either Spanish or English. Tickets can be purchased online. Adult tickets cost $15 for adults and it’s $8 for kids ages 3 to 12.

READ MORE: 4 Farm-to-Table Restaurants to Check Out in Tucson This Summer

Author

  • Teresa K. Traverse

    Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix, Arizona-based writer and editor. Her work also has appeared in national print outlets including Weight Watchers, Bust and Parenting magazines and on sites like Tripadvisor, Wine Enthusiast, SFGate, Brides, Rachael Ray Every Day, Bustle, Racked, ForRent.com, WeddingWire, Refinery29, The Daily Meal, Oxygenmag.com, USA Today and Fast Company. She's the managing editor of Sedona Monthly. In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading magazines and spending quality time with her long-haired Chihuahua, Rocket. Visit teresaktraverse.com to check out more of her work.

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