The Great Outdoors of Tempe
A vibrant urban oasis in Metropolitan Phoenix, Tempe exudes its own personality. Refreshingly offbeat, Tempe’s a fun town that hosts family-friendly festivals, welcomes outdoor activities and is the proud home of Arizona State University. Tempe cares about community, stresses an active lifestyle and emphasizes a laid-back atmosphere. Here, you’ll find the sports you love, the shopping you crave, the culture you enjoy, the food you’ll want to share and art, architecture and scenery that are perfect for your next post on Instagram.
What to Do in Tempe
In Tempe you can focus on exploring the great outdoors and staying fit at the same time. You’ll love discovering all the trails to hike, mountains to climb, bike paths to pedal and a lake to paddle, all against a backdrop of beautiful desert vistas. You don’t need to go far because all of Tempe’s outdoor recreation opportunities are easy to reach and many are right in downtown Tempe.
Arizona’s known for its dry summer heat and that’s how we like it. There’s no need to go into summer hibernation. We know that our walks, runs and bike rides are best enjoyed in the early morning or evening. We’re sure to set out, slathered in sun-screen with a hat or visor, sun glasses and plenty of refreshing H2O to drink on the go. We also take advantage of fun evening programs offered by some of our attractions.
Explore the trails of the Sonoran Desert at Papago Park, on foot or with a mountain bike. Trails will challenge everyone, from novices to adventure seekers.
Choose one of the seemingly endless trail possibilities at South Mountain Park and Preserve. With more than 16,000 acres, the largest municipal park in the country is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.
Take an invigorating hike up “A” Mountain in the Downtown Tempe to get a sense of the past while increasing your pulse. The trails are spotted with ancient petroglyphs, reminders of Tempe’s first settlers, the Hohokam people. Pause to take in the breathtaking, bird’s eye views of Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale from the peak.
Discover Tempe Town Lake, a 220-acre urban oasis and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona. You can jog or walk along the art-lined paths surrounding the lake that cover nearly 5 miles. Rent a kayak, pedal boat or go paddle boarding and enjoy the sunny weather.
Take a Bike Ride
If you love two wheeling it, Tempe is the place for you. As a designated Bicycle Friendly Community with 215 miles of bikeways, Tempe is a bicycler’s heaven! Check out Tempe’s bike paths that range from city streets to desert paths.
The Bicycle Cellar offers bike rentals and bike repairs and service, lockers and showers for bicyclists. It’s conveniently located at the Tempe Transportation Center at the Veterans Way/College Avenue Valley Metro Rail stop.
Rent a bike for a short time through the Grid Bike Share program in Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale. Tempe’s system includes 300 bikes, 425 racks and 30 stations, located near the light rail line, the ASU Tempe Campus and community centers. Just download the Social Bicycles app and you’re good to go. Look for the bright green bikes and visit their website for a map and more details.
Experience a thrilling mountain biking tour with Arizona Outdoor Adventures.
More fun outdoor activities
See the scenery from a horse’s perspective. Saddle up at Koli Equestrian Center or The Stables at Fort McDowell Adventures.
Take a guided tour of the desert in a comfy van with Detours and learn things about the desert even the locals don’t know.
Cruise Saguaro Lake on a Desert Belle cruise. Soak up the sun and beauty of the Sonoran Desert during the 90-minute cruise narrated by your Coast Guard certified captain who describes the history, geology, geography and wildlife of the area.
Get real adventurous rock climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking (or whatever your thrill-seeking heart desires) on a tour designed especially for you by 360 Adventures.
Take a fascinating Desert Botanical Garden Flashlight Tour and you’ll see, hear and feel the desert after dark. The self-paced stroll along the Garden’s trails to a series of discovery stations is perfect for families and kids of all ages.
Cool off at Big Surf Waterpark. Enjoy Waikiki Beach, America’s original wavepool with 2.5 million gallons of water, exciting rides and gentler areas for toddlers.