Have a weekend bicycle route that can’t be beat? Know of a trail that always gets your heart pumping and spirits soaring? See your picks below.
Take your pick: Siphon Draw, Treasure Loop, Ridgeline Trail, Peralta Trail (a vote-getter in this category all on its own). Hiking the Superstitions is a must in the East Valley. Filled with scenic trails, the Superstitions rise 3,000 feet above the Valley to magnificent cliffs east of Apache Junction. The wilderness area is known for its legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Who knows: You may be the one to discover the gold.
The Superstition Mountains are bounded roughly by U.S. 60 on the south, State Route 88 on the northwest, and State Route 188 on the northeast.
“It is beautiful. Almost like you are on another planet.”
“Beautiful sights. Trail difficulty from beginners to accomplished hikers.”
“Great hikes, well marked trails.”
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It’s no wonder bike riders are attracted to the scenic and lively setting of Tempe Town Lake. The 12-foot concrete paths on either side of the 2.5-mile lake offer enough room for everyone. Make a complete loop by crossing the Mill Avenue and Rural Road bridges, which connect the north and south shores of the lake. The paths are open 5 a.m. to midnight every day, and attract walkers, joggers and skaters as well.
80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe (480) 350-5200
“Scenic and away from auto traffic! Easy ride to cruise.”
This martial arts school in Gilbert offers traditional Okinawan curriculum, Combat Hapkido and self defense. But the core of the school’s mission is to build character. Fitness Programs are also available.
4844 S. Val Vista Drive, No. 103, Gilbert
“It’s family. It’s fun. It’s AMAZING!”
“Elevate has a positive atmosphere for kids of all ages. As well as teaching your children respect.”
“Nice people, friendly and safe environment, the best workout place for age 1-100 and learn how to self defense!”
The Skyline Aquatics Center, which opened last year, can host swim meets, events and recreational swimming with its 28 racing lanes, six warm-up lanes and one-meter and three-meter diving boards. The $8.4 million facility also has a water slide, zero-depth entry, turf area and stadium shade seating for 1,200 spectators.
845 S. Crismon Road, Mesa
“New, great lanes.”
Managed by Troon Golf, Ocotillo Golf Resort opened in 1986 and has been named a Top 50 Resort by Golf World Magazine and a Most Underrated Golf Resort by Travel & Leisure Magazine. The resort’s three nine-hole courses offer lush fairways, waterfalls and landscape that bring a contrast to the surrounding desert.
3751 S. Clubhouse Drive, Chandler
October’s BARKtoberfest is one big party for people and their pooches.
The annual fall festival is a fundraiser for Friends for Life Animal Rescue, a no-kill, volunteer-run shelter in Gilbert where many an EV pet owner has found a furry member of the family.
Pups can create a work of art for their owners at a DOGvinci “paw painting” station, and people can return the favor by lavishing their pooches in suds and attention at a dog wash.
Contests are held throughout the day, from bobbing for bones and performing tricks to howling, wearing the best costume and looking most like their owners. Most activities ask for just a small donation.
A vendor area features about 40 pet-related merchant and arts and crafts booths. There’s also a police K-9 unit demonstration, a lure course, an area where kids can play and dogs available for adoption.
A “shelter alumni” parade features former Friends for Life dogs that have gone on to new homes. Each dog is announced, and details are shared about its adoption story.
BARKtoberfest draws about 2,500 people and 500 or so dogs. Leashed, neutered and vaccinated pups are welcome.
Gilbert Town Center, 50 E. Civic Center Drive
Where else can you see ostrich races, where the birds compete carrying jockeys or pulling chariots? And that’s not all you’ll find during Chandler’s annual Ostrich Festival. There are also monkey, reptile and dog shows, a petting zoo, magic and thrill shows, and live ostrich displays. And if you get bored looking at the giant birds, you can try one, literally; ostrich burgers are available on Ostrich Alley, where you’ll also find hand-painted eggs, emu oil and other avian trinkets. The multi-day festival also includes multiple stages of live entertainment, celebrity meet-and-greets, a parade and fun run.
Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road, Chandler
“Food, fun, and family place to go. Live entertainment simply the best annually.”
“Nobody else has it!”
“Fun, affordable, and family friendly.”
For the second year in a row, this working dairy farm in Mesa is voted the best place to take the kids. Take a tour, hand feed the animals and even hold a chicken.
3440 S. Hawes Road, Mesa
“They love kids and make you feel like family.”