The Greenbelt (Scottsdale/Tempe)

Dusk at the Continental Golf Course pond.

I continue to be amazed by how many people I meet who have lived in the Phoenix area for years who have no idea what the Greenbelt is.  Maybe it's a good thing that this little gem is unknown by so many people so those of us who know about it can keep it all to ourselves?

The Greenbelt has something for everyone.  Unless you're a bubble boy, then maybe not.  But pretty much everyone else.

What is it?  An 11+ mile long multi-use path intermixed with a variety of parks, ponds, and golf courses that runs generally along Hayden from Shea down to Tempe Center for the Arts.  You can just as easily enjoy biking a long section as you can driving to one of the many parking lots along its length and having a picnic.  Today on my short bike ride I passed runners, walkers, rollerbladers, fishermen, exercisers, cheerleaders (or a sorority?), a couple guys throwing a baseball, golfers, dog walkers, families...and that was only a three-mile stretch!  It's generally called the "Scottsdale Greenbelt," but it extends uninterrupted to Tempe and it's quite easy to bike from Old Town to Mill Ave using the path.

I was asked about water fountains and other facilities along the greenbelt.  Off the top of my head, there are water fountains and bathrooms in the park just north of McDowell Rd, at the northeast corner of Hayden and Indian School by the volleyball courts, and along the Chaparral Park stretch.

Here are all the thing off the top of my head that I can think of that a person can do along the Greenbelt:
  • Run/Bike/Blade/etc - this one is obvious.  There's a path, you can use it for path-type things.  Keep in mind that it's two way and you should always stay to the right - whether pedestrian or cyclist.  Keep your dog to the curb, or at the very least don't let it cross into the other lane.  Don't walk side-by-side if you're going to walk in the oncoming path (this is mostly because it's difficult to pass you from behind). Here is an exceedingly thorough description of the route from the Phoenix New Times.
  • Frisbee Golf - At the south east corner of McDowell and Miller there is a shopping complex that provides parking and access to one of two disc golf courses. Another parking lot and maybe a second course are located on Roosevelt east of Miller.
  • Fishing - there are numerous ponds along the length of the Greenbelt.  All ponds require a fishing licenses, some require the additional urban fishing stamp.  Details here, my understanding is that if it's not listed, it's not "urban fishing" despite being in the city.
  • Dog Parks - Hayden south of McDonald on the east side has a very popular dog park. There's another around McKellips, but it's quite small in comparison.  Lots of folks let their dogs run loose along the length of the 'belt, but keep in mind that there are leash laws.
  • Golfing - mostly (maybe all) executive courses. I can think of four, but only know the names of two.  The Continental (Christopher Walken not included) at Osborne west of Hayden and Coronado at Miller south of Thomas - both of these have driving ranges.  There's another one, at least, north of Camelback and another south around McKellips.
  • Skate Park - At McDowell and 77th st there is a skate/bike park.
  • Playgrounds - One at Chaparral and Hayden, one around Palm and 77th St.
  • Ball fields - around Miller and Palm, Hayden and Indian School, Jackrabbit and Hayden
  • Open spaces - numerous, but the nicest areas is south of Chaparral.  This is pretty much a catch-all category for things you can do outside anywhere.  I string up my hammock and read, sometimes I play bocce. 
  • Volleyball/Tennis - Hayden north of Indian School has nice sand courts and a rec center with tennis courts.
  • Basketball - Palm and 77th, Hayden and Chaparral, Indian School and Hayden.
  • Soccer/Rugby/Ultimate Frisbee - fields located around Oak and 77th.
Getting there is easy, go east anywhere between the 202 and Shea and you'll cross it (unless you live east of Hayden, then go west).  Sometimes you might have to take a second look, but it's around Hayden and there are numerous parking lots along its length.  Here's a map someone created, you can easily see where to park if you zoom in.

This is inadvisable, but I've even kayaked the Greenbelt when it's flooded...

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