South Mountains Live Cam

A mountain range in central Arizona in south Phoenix


South Mountains History

The South Mountains, located in Phoenix, Arizona, have a rich history dating back thousands of years. The mountains were originally inhabited by various indigenous peoples, including the Hohokam and the Pima, who used the area for hunting, gathering, and agriculture.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the South Mountains became a popular spot for mining, and several mining operations were established in the area. The most successful of these was the Golden Eagle Mining Company, which operated in the mountains from 1908 to 1910.

In the early 1900s, the city of Phoenix began to take an interest in the South Mountains as a potential source of water. The city began to build a series of dams and reservoirs in the mountains, and by the 1920s, the South Mountains were an important part of the city's water supply system.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began to work in the South Mountains, building trails, campgrounds, and other recreational facilities. Many of these facilities are still in use today, and the South Mountains continue to be a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the South Mountains faced significant threats from development, including proposals for a freeway and a large housing development. However, local activists successfully fought against these proposals, and in 1985, the South Mountains were designated as a preserve by the city of Phoenix.

Today, the South Mountains Preserve encompasses over 16,000 acres of land and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including coyotes, javelina, and mountain lions. The mountains also contain a number of important archaeological sites, including petroglyphs and ancient dwellings, which offer a glimpse into the area's rich history.

South Mountains Top Tourist Attractions

The South Mountains in Phoenix offer a range of tourist attractions for visitors to explore. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in the area:

  • South Mountain Park and Preserve: This is the largest municipal park in the United States, covering over 16,000 acres of land. The park offers over 50 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic lookout points.
  • Dobbins Lookout: Located at the top of South Mountain, Dobbins Lookout offers stunning panoramic views of the Phoenix skyline and the surrounding desert landscape.
  • Mystery Castle: This unique structure was built in the 1930s by Boyce Luther Gulley as a gift for his daughter. The castle features 18 rooms, a chapel, and a dungeon, and is made entirely from recycled materials.
  • Arizona Grand Resort and Spa: This luxury resort is located at the base of South Mountain and offers a range of amenities, including a golf course, water park, and spa.
  • South Mountain Environmental Education Center: This educational facility offers a range of programs and activities focused on the natural history and ecology of the South Mountains.
  • Pima Canyon Trailhead: This trailhead offers access to one of the most popular hiking trails in the South Mountains, the Pima Canyon Trail. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape and is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
  • Scorpion Gulch: This historic structure was built in the 1930s as a roadside souvenir shop and is now a popular spot for photography and exploring the area's history.

These are just a few of the many tourist attractions that can be found in the South Mountains in Phoenix. Whether you're interested in hiking, history, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the area, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

South Mountains Climate

The South Mountains in Phoenix, Arizona have a desert climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. During the summer months, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) during the day and typically cool down to the 70s or 80s (21-32 degrees Celsius) at night. Humidity levels are generally low, making the heat more tolerable.

In the winter months, temperatures are mild, with average highs in the 60s (15-20 degrees Celsius) and lows in the 40s (4-9 degrees Celsius). The area receives very little rainfall, with the majority of precipitation occurring during the monsoon season in July and August.

Visitors to the South Mountains should be prepared for the desert climate by wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated, and dressing in lightweight, breathable clothing during the summer months. During the winter months, visitors may want to bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler temperatures in the evening.

South Mountains Geography

The South Mountains in Phoenix, Arizona are a range of mountains located in the southern part of the city. The mountains run roughly east-west and are bordered by the Salt River to the north and the Gila River to the south.

The South Mountains are a part of the larger Phoenix Mountains Preserve, which encompasses several mountain ranges and preserves over 41,000 acres of land. The South Mountains themselves cover an area of approximately 16,000 acres.

The highest point in the South Mountains is Mount Suppoa, which reaches an elevation of 2,690 feet (820 meters). Other notable peaks in the range include Mount Maxson (2,464 feet or 751 meters) and Mount Kiara (2,611 feet or 796 meters).

The South Mountains are characterized by rugged, rocky terrain, with steep canyons and ridges that provide stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. The mountains are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including saguaro cacti, yucca plants, coyotes, javelina, and mountain lions.

Several major highways and roads run through or near the South Mountains, including the Pima Freeway (State Route 101), the Maricopa Freeway (Interstate 10), and South Mountain Park/Preserve Access Road, which provides access to many of the park's trails and attractions.