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Glendale, AZ

Glendale, AZ

Parks & Recreation
Engaging residents and visitors in diverse opportunities to live, invest and play in the community

Parks & Recreation
5970 W. Brown St.
Glendale AZ  85302

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Glendale Parks and Recreation is Nationally Accredited.
CAPRA provides quality assurance and quality improvement of accredited park and recreation agencies throughout the United States. CAPRA is the only national accreditation of park and recreation agencies, and is a valuable measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.


Thunderbird Conservation Park

Thunderbird Conservation Park is located north of Beardsley Road, between 67th and 55th avenues. For the hike, park in the lots on 59th (enter to the west) or 67th (enter to the east) avenues. There is no entry fee and pre-registration is not required.

For further information, visit: or call 623-930-2820.


Sublet with Amazing View!

A great horned owl family has moved into last year’s hawk nest at Thunderbird Conservation Park. View photos.
(Photos courtesy of Steve Franklin, Phoenix Firefighter)


Open: Sunrise to sunset, daily
• Gates locked at Sunset •
Main Entrance: 59th Avenue between
Deer Valley and Pinnacle Peak roads

More information on Adopt-A-Trail.

Thunderbird Conservation Park, a 1,185-acre park in the Hedgpeth Hills, is a conservation park dedicated to preserving the desert environment. The hills were named for Robert Hedgpeth, an early homesteader in the area. The park took its name from the World War II pilot training facility located four miles south of the park. The city of Glendale acquired the park in 1951 through a lease with the federal government. Ownership came in 1956 with the assistance of the Glendale Women’s Club and Glendale Rotary Club. Maricopa County operated the park from 1963 to 1984 and many of the park improvements were made during this time. In 1984 the park was returned to the city. Park activities include picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, jogging and bird watching. About 15 miles of multi-use trails have been constructed, thanks to the efforts of many volunteer groups.

Thunderbird Conservation Park

Watch Videos

  • Hiking the Park - Explore one of Arizona's great hiking parks for both the novice and experienced hiker.

  • Wildlife Viewing Blinds - Come discover the peace, serenity and beauty at the park's wildlife viewing blinds.
With more people discovering the beauty and benefits of trails, they are becoming more crowded. With more users comes the need for guidelines for wise trail use. Such guidelines can enable all trail users to have the enjoyable experience everyone is looking for. Remember, courtesy is contagious and, who knows, you may make a new friend! Help us protect this fragile environment by staying on the trails.

Thunderbird Park

Download above map  |  Download map with trail elevation included

Trail Name Description Length Level of Difficultly Rating*
Coach Whip Originates at 67th Avenue parking lot at Patrick Lane and concludes at 51st Avenue & Potter. Not designated as a looped trail. approximately 5.0 miles Moderate
Flatlander Originates at 55th Ave & Pinnacle Peak parking lot and is a looped trail. approximately 1.25 miles Easy
Arrowhead Point Originates south of Pinnacle Peak parking lot along the Coach Whip trail and ends at Ramadas 14 and 15. approximately 1.5 miles Moderate Difficult
Cholla Loop

Originates at parking lot A and ends at Coach Whip near 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Rd.

approximately 3.0 miles Moderate to Moderate Difficult in certain areas
Sunrise Originates at the North end of the amphitheater, or near Ramada 11. A branch of this trail originates at Ramada 11, travels west and intersects the Coach Whip trail on the west side of the park. approximately 2 miles with the west branch Moderate to Moderate Difficult in certain areas
Ridgeline Originates off of the Coach Whip trail and intersects with the Sunrise trail. approximately 0.4 miles Moderate
Desert Iguana Originates at 67th Avenue and Patrick Lane parking lot and concludes at parking lot B. approximately 0.75 miles Easy
Chuckwalla Originates at Ramada 13 and concludes at Ramada 9. approximately 0.25 miles Moderate

*Ratings:  During the hotter months when the temperature and/or humidity is high, trails will be rated at least one level higher.  See the Trail Rating Guide.


Sonoran Desert Inhabitants


  • Desert ground squirrel
  • Rock squirrel   
  • Chipmunk        
  • Cottontail rabbit  
  • Jackrabbit
  • Kangaroo rat   
  • Pack rat          
  • Mice   
  • Bats    
  • Peccary (Javelina)         
  • Mule deer   
  • Coyote
  • Gray fox     
  • Kit fox
  • Raccoon 
  • Coati   
  • Skunks
  • Bobcat
  • Mountain lion   
  • Ringtail


  • Kingsnakes      
  • Rattlesnakes    
  • Non-venomous snakes 
  • Toads and frogs
  • Chuckwalla     
  • Horned lizard 
  • Gila monster    
  • Collared lizard
  • Gecko 
  • Various lizards 
  • Desert tortoise           
  • turtles

Kit Fox


  • Cactus wren    
  • Gambels quail           
  • Dove   
  • Ducks 
  • Killdeer           
  • Herons           
  • Hummingbirds
  • Owls
  • Falcons
  • Hawks
  • Vultures           
  • Roadrunner     
  • Osprey
  • Raven  
  • Woodpeckers 
  • Various song birds    
  • Coots  
  • Loons  
  • Grebes eagles


viewing blindVIEWING BLINDS

See a video on the blindsFour wildlife viewing blinds are located at Thunderbird Conservation Park along the north side of the sedimentation basin. Three of the viewing blinds are accessible from the trails off Pinnacle Peak Road and the fourth is handicap accessible and located off 59th Avenue. These blinds provided areas for viewing the park's 50+ different species of birds and wildlife attracted to the man-made water feature. They feature a decorative block wall with "windows" for viewing, benches and a path to access them. Check them out and be sure to bring binoculars to get an even closer look and/or a camera to capture those precious animals.




  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Tell someone where you are hiking and when you expect to return.
  • Carry and drink water. Remember it’s the water in your body not the water in your canteen that keeps you fit. Carry enough water for your entire hike.  Remember water for your dog. When your water is 1/2 gone, turn around and return to the trailhead. 
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • A cellular phone can be a life saver.
  • Don't hike alone.
  • Use a walking stick for support and to fend off threatening wildlife.
  • Use maps. Know where you are going and what kind of terrain you are hiking on.
  • Carry a large comb and pliers to remove cholla cactus.
  • Record your experiences with a camera.
  • A signalling mirror can help rescuers locate you if you are injured.


  • Teddy bear cholla cactus have segments that readily detach and have very sharp spines that easily penetrate shoe leather. A large comb and pliers are useful in removing them.
  • Several species of rattlesnake inhabit the park. If encountered, always allow them a way to escape. Do not tease or harass the snake. The result may be a bite and a trip to the hospital. Always look where you place your hands and feet. When hiking, walk with a heavy foot. The snake will sense your approach and leave before you get to it.
  • Scorpions and spiders may be found under rocks, in bushes and other places. As with snakes, always look where you place your hands and feet and before you sit down.
  • To avoid bees, yellow jackets and wasps: Do not wear perfume or scented lotions. Avoid swarms and nests. Do not make loud noises. Bees, yellow jackets and wasps will defend their hives and nests if threatened. If attacked, cover your face and get out of the area as quickly as possible. Do not swat at bees. Do not jump into water, as the bees may wait for you to resurface. If you are in distress or see someone who needs assistance, call 911. Report concerns to the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department at 623-930-2820 or
  • Other wildlife (coyotes, fox, javelina, etc.)––If encountered on the trail, freeze where you are. Leave a route for the animal to escape. If you are blocking the only escape route, slowly move out of the way and allow the animal to pass.

Some of the rules and guidelines listed are covered in the Glendale City Park Code. Those that are laws have the code number in parentheses.

Know Your Ability and Choose the Right Trail
Every year, more than 200 people have to be rescued while hiking in parks and preserves. Make an informed decision on which trail to hike.  Choose a trail that is within your ability and your hike will be more enjoyable. See the trail ratings following the map above. See the Trail Rating Guide.


  • Short cutting and hiking off the trails
    is not permitted. (27-51c)
  • Motor vehicles are not permitted on the
    trails. (27-45a)
  • Construction of additional trails or short cuts are not permitted. (27-44c)
  • Trails are multi-use unless otherwise signed.
  • Observe the accepted trail etiquette:
    • Horse and rider have the right of way. (27-49d)
    • Bicyclists yield to hikers and horse and riders.
    • Please use common sense and don’t insist on the right of way. 
    • Avoid soft and muddy trails. Deep tracks make it difficult for others.
    • Allow faster traffic to pass.
    • When in a group, don’t block the trail.
    • Allow room for other users


  • Pets are permitted on the trails (dogs and cats only). (27-48a)
  • Pets must be restrained by a leash, no longer than six feet in length, at all times. (27-48a)
  • Pet droppings must immediately be picked up and properly disposed of. (27-48a)
  • Pets may not chase wildlife. (27-47a)


  • Ride only on roads and designated trails. (27-49a)
  • Restrain your mount at all times. (27-49a)
  • Ride safely and with due care. (27-49a)
  • Trail stock may only be tied to improvements designed for such use. (27-49b)
  • Trail stock is not permitted to graze in the park. (27-49e)


  • Ride only on roadways and designated trails. (27-45a)
  • Ride safely and yield the right of way to other trail users. (27-45b)
  • Ride at a reasonable speed––no greater than 15 mph. (27-45c)
  • Announce your presence when approaching other trail users.
  • Approach each bend as if someone were around the corner.


  • Enjoy watching the wildlife along the trails. Hiking off the trail is not permitted. (27-51c)
  • Do not chase, harass or harm any wildlife in the park. (27-47a)
  • Remember that even snakes have an important role to play in the ecosystem. Back off and give them room to escape. Most animals won’t bother you unless they feel threatened.


  • Do not discard trash along the trails. (27-52a) Carry items for proper discard until a trash receptacle is reached.
  • Many users carry plastic bags to pick up after others.
  • Help us keep the trails beautiful.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the trails. Alcohol speeds up dehydration in the body and may cause heat-related illness.
  • Do not take glass containers onto the trails. (27-52b)


  • Sling shots, bow and arrows or knives with over a 3½-inch blade are not permitted on the trails. (27-46) A hiking stick can serve to fend off any wildlife.


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