Urban Planning at its Finest

I’ll admit, I wasn’t always a fan of Phoenix, Arizona. Quite frankly, if our son hadn’t moved here eight years ago, I’m not sure how much time we’d actually spend in Phoenix, but let’s add in the fact that our daughter also lives here now …. well, need I say more … this place has definitely grown on me.desert wildflowers

With that said, Phoenix, Arizona, has since become our ‘home’, our home base so to speak.  We always manage to find some place in the Phoenix valley to park the RV for a desert birdlengthy stay and get in as much parent/child time as possible.  Although, from Al’s and my point of view, there never seems to be enough time spent with the kids.

Gosh, they are adults after all and do have demanding jobs and lives of their own.  Thus, we take what time we can get.

Our two favorite pastimes to spend together as a family are hiking and eating, and there’s no shortage of either around here.

As far as urban planning goes, I think Phoenix has done a fabulous job.  Traffic can be a bear just like any other major city, but the road system is laid out in a hikingsomewhat  organized manner compared to other cities and is easy to navigate. There are several expressways looping around the city to assist in keeping the dense amount of traffic moving.

Over the past several years of visiting Phoenix regularly, at all times of the year including summer, we’ve had the opportunity to observe traffic patterns and noticed there seems to be a sharp increase in traffic during the months of January, February, and March when the valley is loaded with snowbirds from the north.  Once these snowbirders move on …. come April, the density of the traffic seems to lighten, and by May the city can once again breathe.

Phoenix, AZ

This sure doesn’t look like a big city, does it? And check out the dense amount of wildflowers.

But what impresses me the most about Phoenix is the park / trail system.  No matter what side of the valley we park the RV, there’s always a trailhead within a short distance.  Quite hiking in Phoenixoften these trails feel remote, are rugged, and vary in challenge.  Don’t be fooled, there are some very challenging hikes in this city.

There’s also tons of groomed, kid friendly parks with playground equipment perfect for families. Yes, urban planning at its finest.

Although the Superstition Mountains remains my favorite place to hike while in Phoenix, I’ve discovered several other wonderful trailheads.

Most recently, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time hiking at the Sonoran Preserve.  The Desert Hills Trailhead was recently completed and is less than ten minutes away from our RV Park.  The Apache Wash Trailhead is located a little closer to where our children live and makes for a great place for us to meet up.

desert wildlfowers

the wildflowers have added a joy to my hiking

This spring has been especially enjoyable hiking with the abundance of dense wildflowers.  I’m a girly girl and a sucker for flowers.


hiking with my daughter regularly has been a wonderful treat

So, while it may not have been love at first sight, I’ve come to appreciate and embrace all that Phoenix has to offer.  Of course, the fact that my babies live here adds to mommy’s overall enjoyment ☺

Sonoran Preserve

Sonoran Preserve – Desert Hills Trailhead

share the trail

Whether you’re in the heart of the city or further out, you’ll share the trails with all kinds

share the trail

“I don’t mind sharing the trail”

desert birds

it’s not just the sights that are lovely … natures sounds are musical

desert wildflowers

love, love, love the desert wildflowers

happy camper

Me – happy camper, hiking near Lost Dutchman State Park

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70 thoughts on “Urban Planning at its Finest

  1. What beautiful pictures! I’ve known for a long time that there are many places in AZ well worth seeing, and I have visited the state many times, but know next to nothing about Phoenix. My daughter shared photos from the Desert Botanical Garden that made me want to see that, and now you have made me want to explore further, the next time I go. Thank you!

    • With each visit to the valley, I seem to discover more things to do and see. I’m never bored around here and love the diversity. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Wonderful overview of Phoenix, Ingrid, and your photos are a joy to view. Great wildflower and mountain photos, and I especially love the lizard and Say’s phoebe. And you look happy and healthy, always a delight to see.

    • Thanks Jet. We always enjoy our visits to Phoenix and manage to make new discoveries each time, but with the temps rising it’s about time to get our wheels rolling 😊

    • The desert is beautiful, but for many, an acquired taste. I’ve traveled a lot and can honestly say, the desert provides the most amazing and stunning skies like no place else. I never tire of the view!

      • I know we’d love it!!! One day we’ll get there! In the meantime, we’re enjoying your posts and pictures as well as a few others (Places They Go, Wheelin It and Lowe’s!)

    • Yes, Phoenix has definitely grown on us and feels more like home each visit. However, I do think the children play a major role in that feeling. Ah, with the temps rising, it’s almost time to head to a higher elevation.

  3. I lived in the Phoenix area for 20+ years. It has changed so much but is still quite lovely, even for such a large city. Love those images Ingrid!

    • The valley has grown and changed drastically over the past 20 years but even with all the growth, the trails and parks are abundant and top notch. I for one appreciate that ‘open space’ 🙂

  4. As usual – wonderful photos and personal life stories! We used to do a lot of family hiking when the kids were young. Thanksfully all of our (5) grown children still live closeby. 4 are married and we have 2 toddler grandchildren which we will be introducing to hiking and exploring soon.

  5. I love your photos! Note to self – work on photos…. the flowers are beautiful. I’ve never been to Phoenix and only been through Arizona twice – both times on I-40 one time headed west and a year later, headed east. Would love to explore someday, but enjoy vicariously through your travels. Enjoy your time with your kids.

    • Arizona offers such diverse topography that it can feel like worlds apart. The land along I-40 versus the Phoenix valley are so very different. I think that diversity is what I find so intriguing and holds my attention. We may not even leave the state the rest of the year and just travel up and down in elevation as weather dictates 🙂

    • I know you can relate considering how much you enjoy spending time at your daughter’s place with the grandkids. The trails are awesome but as it heats up, I get nervous because of my close call with a snake last spring 😲

      • That’s why I quit hiking a few weeks ago 🙂 Although we do have them at home but I have been fortunate enough to never see one so I’m okay hiking there.

  6. Such lovely photos. We have a friend who lived in Phoenix and raved about the trails there. After reading your post I’m starting to believe him!

    • The trails are awesome and a wonderful surprise to be located in such a large city. A rugged hike can be followed up with a great meal at any number of tasty restaurants. And I didn’t even touch on the shopping possibilities!

    • So many options… Lost Dutchman SP is a favorite as are the Maricopa County Parks (Cave Creek Reg Park, Usery, McDowell, Lake Pleasant). There are so many private RV parks especially in Apache Junction. It just depends on what you’re looking for. RV Park Reviews and Campendium.com are great sites to research.

      • I was just gonna ask this same question. I think we’re gonna spend next winter in the southwest and I was thinking Phoenix might be a good area to consider for a month or so. I have a lot of research to do, but this is a good list of campgrounds to start looking at. And from your post, it sounds like it would be a great place to hang out for a bit.

        • I think you would really enjoy the regional parks if you don’t mind not having a sewer connection. However, the sites can be a mixed bag of short or sloped. We’ve stayed at Cave Creek Regional Park several times and like sites 35 or 37. Usery and McDowell Reg Parks are faves with several bloggers I know. Then there’s Lost Dutchman SP, a definite must. The private parks are all over the place – literally and figuratively. I promise, a month in the Phoenix valley will keep you entertained. Best weather is Feb and Mar, but Mar is also the busiest due to baseball spring training. Reservations are a must.

  7. Ingrid, your photographs are absolutely beautiful…Phoenix definitely agrees with you! And yes, we tend to gravitate where our children settle, and lucky for you they both chose the same city. Enjoy your hikes, Phoenix, and your family!

  8. It’s great your kids live in the same area!! Time spent with family is priceless!!
    We have never visited Arizona but most likely we will in the future.
    The rains this winter have certainly created a beautiful show of flowers.
    Your pics are awesome as ever….will I ever be able to capture such beauty???

    • When confronted with such pretty scenery, I think it would be difficult to take a bad photograph, but thank you for the kind words. Feb and Mar are my two favorite months in the desert southwest, but it’s also the busiest RVing season.

  9. We’re Snowbirds who live very close to the McDowell Mountain Park north of Fountain Hills. We don’t, of course, notice the increased traffic caused by us Snowbirds but we do notice the distinct uptick in traffic when the families of Snowbirds come to visit during spring break, Easter, etc!
    While we enjoy seeing the desert come alive, we are really pleased with our own garden as the cactus and other plants burst into bloom.

    • We spend a fair amount of time using the 101 anywhere from the University of Phx Stadium up and around to southern Scottsdale and the 202 and the density of the traffic in June or Sept versus Feb or Mar is very noticeable. I do love it when the cactus start blooming, which reminds me, I need to make another trip to the Botanical Garden.

  10. You’ve certainly found some gorgeous places to hike in and near Phoenix! No wonder you’re loving it, with all of the wildflowers and wonderful trails. And, of course, having your daughter and son there makes it even more special. :-)))

    • Time with family always takes a visit up a notch. Add in some awesome hiking trails, good restaurants, and excellent shopping …. not a bad place to hang for awhile 🙂

  11. I love that you are able to winter near both of your children… Our daughter lives near San Francisco, and our son lives 30 minutes away. But, gosh, they are so busy!! Being able to hike with them is absolutely wonderful.

    We are expecting another grandchild this August. Seven precious grandkids aged 7 and under. It has been an amazing few years, with all the babies. I am hoping we can get everyone together at the beach in June for a few days. We will know soon if it works out.

    Enjoy your family hikes, Ingrid. And, keep taking those gorgeous photos.

    • That’s difficult having the kids on two separate coasts, but at least you’re close to one. Congrats on the upcoming addition. I’m sure those little ones keep everyone busy. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to get everyone together for a beach vacation 😎

  12. What a wonderful area to be based for a little while. We hope to find a house sit near Phoenix one of these years. Having trails around is important to us as well.

    • I would think you’d be able to find something in this large city, especially Scottsdale and there’s lots to see and do around here. I’d love to be your tour guide 🤗

  13. We, too, really enjoy visiting the Phoenix area. There are so many different areas to hike. We love having the choice of staying in White Tank Mts to Lost Dutchman State Park to Usery Mt, etc. etc. etc.
    Your photos are so lovely. The last one is absolutely gorgeous!
    Enjoy the kids. Time with family is at the top of our list.

    • Thanks Marsha and I agree – time with family is at the top of the list. I’m thankful the kids are located in a city that is so RV friendly. It makes our life a tad easier and that much more enjoyable.

  14. That brittle brush is sure pretty. I’m so home sick for Arizona…ugh. When I lived in the Phoenix valley in the early 80’s. the 101, and 303 didn’t exist. traffic was a real nightmare because they were building like crazy and like everyone said, there were no roads to get anywhere. Those loop roads definitely make a difference.

    • I remember visiting in the mid to late 80’s and the only Interstate was the ten. Thank goodness they built all the loop/bypass roads. The desert has been amazing this spring and I’m not ready for it to heat up!

  15. I absolutely LOVE Superstition Mt. and the wonderful legend of the lost mine>> I would be hiking around there looking for the mine entrance. There are some eerie stories of people getting lost and losing their lives on that mountain looking for the gold…but I’m sure you have read up on all that. We enjoyed the old town of Jerome, but that was ages ago, and I have heard that has changed a lot…Enjoy those beautiful wildflowers..This has been a record year for the cactus blooms and wildflowers!!

    • Yes, lots of interesting tales on that gold and regular rescues are an unfortunate occurrence. Folks don’t realize how unforgiving the desert can be. Jerome is my daughter’s favorite AZ town. The wildflowers are dwindling and the cactus are starting to bloom – so unique and pretty.

  16. We adore Phoenix… except for the traffic. However, everything we need is right around us.

    The Super Bloom this year has made the desert hiking fabulous. The cacti are just now starting to bloom. Which is going to make it that much more wonderful.

    Then when the heat starts up… I head for Pennsylvania and my Lake House. Yes we are Snowbirds but we love it that way!

    Now… I need to stop commenting on blogs and hopefully get a blog post up.

    Love your pictures my friend. Look forward to our evening tomorrow and can’t wait to catch up!

    • We also head out of town once the heat gets too much to be fun. I can handle the traffic around here most of the time. Sometimes it’s ridiculous (like in March) and I do my best to avoid. The flowers this year have been a joy. See ya soon!

  17. Have never been to Phoenix but will be exploring Flagstaff and Grand Canyon later this year. Looks beautiful adorned with the glories of Spring! Great shots!

    • Northern Arizona is vastly different than Phoenix. Amazing how a two hour drive can seem like worlds apart. Just one of the many things I find fascinating about Arizona.

  18. My only experience in that area so far is in July when I went to Chandler. I thought I was going to melt into the asphalt, even after dark. Love all your great pics, as always!

    • Eek! July in the desert is NOT the ideal way to experience it for a first time. Even after dark it remains in the 90’s. You’ll need to visit in the cooler months sometime … Feb or Mar is perfect.

    • It’s a joy to go out hiking right now. I’m not looking forward to the hot weather … I’ll have to move north and further from the kiddies.

  19. Ingrid, how wonderful to have some time to spend with your children in such a beautiful setting. Your pictures are incredible in this post!

    • Thank you Lynn. You know all too well how special the time spent with our adult children is. Daughter and I are talking about a road trip. I’m letting her decide where and how. Can’t wait.

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