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60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Phoenix: Including Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale Paperback – January 13, 2009
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"Liu leads hikers and walkers through a diverse collection of superb trails perfect for hikers of all experience levels." - NorthCentralNews.net
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Like other books in the series, this volume has a lot to recommend it. It includes a useful introduction on the basics of hiking and how to use a GPS unit. Hikes are organized by geographical region (within Phoenix, suburbs, and areas to the northeast and northwest, as well as south of the city) and each hike contains key "at-a-glance" information such as distance, elevation, approximate hiking time, and, relatively unique to Phoenix, how many quarts of water you will need if you wish to survive the experience. I might add here that some of the information can be redundant. Under the heading "exposure" virtually every hike lists shade as "none" or "very little." Liu deserves a lot of credit for his careful maps that accompany the trail descriptions. These were recorded by hand-held GPS and plotted onto downloaded topographical maps. Based on the trails I have hiked that are described in this book, these maps are excellent.
In all, this is a great book if you are a Phoenix resident or regular visitor seeking hikes in the off season. (I fall into the latter category.) The author does describe several fairly level paths: the trail in Papago Park and the Bridal Murphy trail, to offset some of the more challenging adventures. For my part, I will use this book to explore the Bradshaw Mountains the next time I visit Phoenix in the warmer months. Liu points out their elevation makes them a nice alternative to the longer drive for Flagstaff if you want to beat the heat. I think it is a safe bet that even seasoned local hikers will find something new in these pages. So get the book and go take a hike (but not during June, July, or August).
One improvement I would like to see is waypoints provided for some of the locations on each of the hikes. Other than that, really like the book. Well worth the investment.