Located in Peoria among residential areas, is the West Wing Mountain Preserve. There are a series of low-elevation mountains in the area, from Peoria Sunrise to East Wing to West Wing to the Thunderbird Mountains. None of these mountains are above 2,000’. However, all of them offer some decent hiking.
West Wing Mountain is a good place for an easy day hike. It is wide enough to allow for a 4-mile hike with a couple loops and offshoots. It isn’t as popular as many of the urban hiking spots in Phoenix. However, don’t expect to be hiking alone on a weekend.
The main summit is West Wing Mountain at 1,930’, although there are a few other summits and lookout points that are accessible along the ridge.
Reaching the main trail requires parking in, or walking through, neighborhoods. There is plenty of parking. Access is from the south. Lands to the north of West Wing Mountain are actually undeveloped – as of the fall of 2018.
Hiking in the West Wing Mountain Preserve can be done year-round. Although it is recommended to hike very early in the morning in the summer. The best time to hike in this area is between October and March.
From the 101 Freeway take Exit 17 for Beardsley Road and take it to 83rd Avenue/Lake Pleasant Parkway. 83rd Avenue splits after a third of a mile. Take it all the way past Happy Valley Road. Once at Happy Valley Road, the road continues past the Peoria Sunrise Mountain Preserve, and then curves to the left. After two miles the trailhead is on the other side of the road. Just pop a U-turn at Black Rock Road.
The trail actually starts across West Wing Parkway north of the Cooper Hills Church. It is about 200 yards up. It is easy to find with any smart phone once at the church or the trailhead parking lot.
The trail starts as a flat dirt trail that snakes between neighborhood fences. After about four-tenths of a mile, the trail starts ascending. The trail continues up towards the ridge and reaches the saddle between West Wing Mountain and a rocky west summit.
From here, there are a few options. If just wanting an easy summit, take the trail up to West Wing Mountain. Alternatively, there are loop trails that elongate the hike. Via the shortest route, West Wing Mountain can be reached in about a mile from the start of the trail, gaining about 570’. Add a quarter mile each way to the parking lot. If taking the loop around the mountain, it a 3 ¾ mile total hike, adding about 300’ of total gain. This is the recommended route.
There is no red tape in particular. Dogs need to be on leashes. Avoid hiking in the heat of summer. Watch out for snakes if weather conditions are right. Details are here: Peoria Hiking Trails