Study Break: Take a Hike


It’s November in Arizona, and the weather outside is finally bearable. As classes start ramping up and finals are on the horizon, it’s important to take a break, reflect, and stay active. Hiking is the perfect diversion from your busy schedule and demanding classes.

Use our guide to pick the trail that’s right for you!

Hole-In-The-Rock Trail

This easy 0.3-mile out-and-back trail takes an average of seven minutes to complete and is considered easy. Located at Papago Park, it’s a 12-minute drive from the ASU Tempe campus. If you are looking to get out of your dorm room, go for a quick walk and take in some views, this hike is perfect. 

Desert Tortoise Trail

This short 1.1-mile trail is an easy climb that offers beautiful desert views and the chance to see wildlife. Located on the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, it’s a 37-minute drive from the ASU Tempe campus, and if you are looking to get out of Tempe for a couple of hours there are more trails on the preserve to explore.

Double Butte Loop Trail

Located at Papago Park, this 2.3-mile trail is rated easy and perfect if you are looking to go for a walk after class and is a 12-minute drive from campus. 

Pinnacle Peak Trail

This 4-mile out-and-back trail is perfect for beginners who are looking to challenge themselves. The trail gains over 1,000 feet gradually throughout the hike and offers beautiful views of Scottsdale. If you’re looking to push yourself on the weekend and enjoy some scenery, the trail is a 40-minute drive from the ASU Tempe Campus located in North Scottsdale. 

Cholla Loop

Cholla Loop is also perfect for beginners who want to push but not overexert themselves. Located in Glendale, this hike takes up 567 feet and offers some great views of the Phoenix area. Located 42 minutes from the ASU Tempe campus at the Thunderbird Conservation Park, this hike is a bit of a drive but we promise it’s worth the journey.

Tom’s Thumb Trail 

This 4-mile trail with a 1,236 feet elevation gain is difficult. Located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, it is an uphill climb for the first few miles of the trail but levels out once you reach the pinnacle. At the top of the trail, there are several granite boulders, the largest being Tom’s Thumb. It’s a 38-minute drive from the ASU Tempe campus, but for those looking to push themselves and take in stunning views of Scottsdale, it’s well worth it.  

Piestewa Summit Trail 

The Piestewa Peak is the second-highest peak in the Phoenix mountains. This hike is only 2.2 miles but is rated extremely difficult with steep inclines, switchbacks, stairs, and rock climbing to reach the top. If you are looking to push yourself one weekend and get out of your comfort zone, this trail is perfect for you. The trail is located 25 minutes from the ASU Tempe campus at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. 

Echo Canyon Trail

This trail is considered one of the most challenging in the Phoenix area and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. Although it is only 2.5 miles, this trail is steep and often requires hikers to use their hands. Located on Camelback Mountain, 25 minutes from the ASU Tempe campus, this trail provides stunning views of Phoenix once you reach the top. 

Remember to bring water and snacks when hiking, wear proper shoes and clothing, and make wise decisions—don’t let yourself get into a bad spot. But do take advantage of the cooler weather and remember to go for a study break when you have the chance!

Use our guide to pick the trail that’s best for you!