Room to Roam

The Top 3 Ways to Explore the Sonoran Desert

When you’re ready to start exploring again, we’ll be ready to help you discover the Sonoran desert’s wide-open spaces with Gilbert as your home base.

The draw of the desert is unmistakable. From the burnt orange sunsets that wow even longtime locals to the distinctive scent of creosote when it rains, it’s truly a place like no other. Whether you’re hiking through a sea of saguaros or spotting wild horses along the Salt River, there’s a way to explore the Sonoran Desert that fits just about everybody.

If you love hiking

Just 30 miles east of town lies an otherworldly landscape of towering mountains, stone-carved canyons and miles of beautiful hiking trails. What we know today as the Superstition Wilderness was once a series of volcanoes that collapsed to form calderas and is now home to some of the region’s best hikes. Thanks to its stunning views and accessibility for all skill levels, the Peralta Trail is a family favorite, while Siphon Draw offers more technical features that appeal to adventure-seekers.

Two backpackers hike the Maricopa Trail near Gilbert, Arizona, with saguaro and prickly pear cacti and green desert shrubs around them and a mountain range in the background.

If you love cycling

Gilbert is home to the Central Trail System, which offers more than 135 miles of marked and unmarked trails for hikers and bikers and areas for birding in Gilbert. The system’s 50-plus miles of marked bike trails connect to parks throughout the town, providing perfect locations for a post-ride picnic.

A cyclist rides a mountain bike between two large boulders as the sun sets behind him in San Tan Mountain Regional Park near Gilbert, Arizona.

If you love wildlife

Revel in the wonders of the desert at outdoor attractions like the Riparian Preserve, which features various trails, a dinosaur dig site, and myriad opportunities for bird watching, and Boyce Thompson Arboretum, home to nearly 400 acres of pristine landscape and lush desert gardens. For a truly magical experience, head to the Salt River at sunset, when bands of wild horses often make an appearance.

A small, brown and white burrowing owl rests on the ground, eyes partially closed.

Explore the Heritage District

When the hiking, biking, and exploring is done for the day, take a stroll through the charming Heritage District, stopping for photo ops at one of the town’s many Instagram-worthy backdrops, and enjoy the take-out and restaurant patio offerings of a big city — all without the crowds. With a commitment to CDC and social distancing guidelines, many businesses are open and prepared to welcome guests.

Finally — and perhaps most importantly — visitors to Gilbert can rest assured that their hotels are committed to stringent cleaning processes, ensuring peace of mind. So when the time is right, we’ll be ready to make you feel right at home. Until then, know that we are patiently preparing for your visit.

Happening in the Heritage District

Food and fun await in Gilbert’s revitalized, historic downtown

From the Western Canal—a waterway that arrows east and west—Gilbert Road dips south. It’s here, for three colorful blocks, that the Heritage District holds court. Eateries, breweries, and coffee bars—many locally owned—welcome pedestrians. Public art dots street corners. And murals adorn buildings…

Bike Gilbert

Arizona has a bit of a reputation for being a great place to bike. It is the combination of bike-friendly communities, mountain roads, beautiful vistas, and exceptional weather makes it great to explore on two wheels. In Gilbert, avid cyclists have 135 miles of marked path to enjoy, mountain bikers have their options open in the surrounding mountain parks, but let’s be honest, the cruiser is queen…

Trip Ideas and Itineraries

The Discover Gilbert travel itinerary offers a roadmap of unique attractions all across Gilbert, to help you customize your visit. Regardless of what may bring you to Gilbert, we invite you to peruse this handy guide and get out and discover Gilbert!…


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