Best Places to Exercise for Free in Phoenix

Gym memberships and specialty studio passes can get costly—and they keep you inside to exercise. Why stay indoors when you can workout, breathe fresh air, and save money all at once?

Phoenix has a plethora of free exercise opportunities just waiting for you. If it is summertime, plan to hit these places early in the morning or at night to escape the heat of the day.


From McDowell Mountain Park to South Mountain to select trails in the Superstition Springs wilderness area, thousands of miles of terrain are waiting for you to explore. Trails range from easy, like Apache Junction’s Hieroglyphic Trail, to the more difficult Camelback Mountain, which boasts 2 challenging trails.

Exercise classes

Lululemon in the Biltmore Fashion Park offers free, weekly runs, yoga classes, and a fun fit cardio workout. CityScape in downtown Phoenix offers free fitness classes such as Zumba seasonally, usually in the spring. Various local hotels also occasionally offer exercise classes, including downtown Phoenix’s Hotel Palomar’s summer-long, weekly poolside yoga event.

Community pools

It’s no secret that even Phoenix’s dry heat gets sweltering. No pool? No problem. Each city within the Valley maintains pools full of cool, shimmering water to keep desert dwellers sane. Although entry to these recreational areas usually costs $1 or $2, it’s well worth the hours of enjoyment. Popular pools include Glendale’s Foothills Aquatic Center featuring slides and a lazy river. Phoenix’s Pecos Pool boasts a beach entry, diving boards, and a mushroom water feature.

Bike routes

Bikers in the Valley have their choice between road biking and mountain biking. Mountain bikers might want to visit South Mountain, where they can maneuver between hikers to get their trail thrills. Try this 11-mile ride featuring 900 feet in elevation gain that has easy access from Phoenix. Another popular route for road bikers is Bush Highway, outside of Mesa on the way to Payson. This road features stunning views of the Superstition Mountains and steep climbs guaranteed to get your heart pumping.

Tennis and basketball

Just about every park in town has a basketball court and many feature free tennis courts. Forgetting about these easily accessible amenities is easy, but they provide hours of free, healthy entertainment for the whole family.

What is your favorite way to exercise outside in Phoenix? 

Image by Ben Cane via Flickr