Where to Eat After a Hike in Phoenix

Let’s face it: Hiking can make you hungry, even hangry. The first thing you want after a good hike is good food – and fast. But figuring out where to eat when you come off the trails can be exhausting in itself, so we did the legwork for you, scouting out the best places near some of Phoenix’s most popular and picturesque hikes. From hearty breakfast joints to healthy vegan cafes, here’s where to refuel after hitting your favorite Phoenix hiking trail:

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The tempura Crispy Bites at Buddha’s Ritual are served with sweet chili ranch.

Allison Young

Gateway Loop Trail
Breakfast: The Breakfast Joynt
10101 East Bell Road, Scottsdale
Lunch: Buddha’s Ritual
16580 North 92nd Street, Scottsdale

It does not get much more scenic than Gateway in the McDowell Mountains, a 4.5-mile loop that winds past saguaros and stellar views. Follow up your hike with a hearty morning meal at The Breakfast Joynt, a light and lively spot with Bennies galore, stuffed breakfast burritos, and both build-your-own omelets and quinoa bowls. If an early-bird cocktail in a stylish setting is more your thang, Buddha’s Ritual is a mecca of photogenic food – think eye-catching croissant waffles, kimchi mac and cheese, tuna tower ceviche, pretty poke bowls, and prickly pear-spiked cocktails , all in an Instagrammable setting that turns even more scenic on the weekends.

click to enlarge Greasy goodness at Big Earl's Greasy Eats in Cave Creek.  - ALLISON YOUNG

Greasy goodness at Big Earl’s Greasy Eats in Cave Creek.

Allison Young

Blue Wash Trail to Camp Creek Falls
Breakfast: Wagon Wheel Restaurant
36457 North Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
Lunch: Big Earl’s Greasy Eats
6135 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek

It’s impossible not to feel like you’re on vacation in Cave Creek, a scenic place north of Phoenix with the feel of a road-trip stop. If you finish up your hike early enough, breakfast at Wagon Wheel is a must, an old-fashioned breakfast joint with cheap eats and darn good food (the raisin-cinnamon French toast is a fave). Or stop by Big Earl’s Greasy Eats, a timeless counter-service stop in a former gas station that delivers on its name. Refuel with a third-pound Angus beef burger (you can not go wrong with The Big Earl), seasoned fries, and a milkshake, the perfect combo to replace all those calories you just burned.

click to enlarge Meet Early Bird Vegan's famous Dr.  J. - ALLISON YOUNG

Meet Early Bird Vegan’s famous Dr. J.

Allison Young

Mormon Trail to Hidden Valley Loop
Breakfast: Early Bird Vegan
1712 East Broadway Road
Lunch: The Farm Kitchen at The Farm at South Mountain
6106 South 32nd Street

Start at the Mormon Trailhead off 24th Street, and the lollipop loop will take you past petroglyphs, epic views, and fun rock formations, including a naturally formed tunnel. Continue the healthy vibe at Early Bird Vegan, an order-at-the-counter spot that serves up superfood smoothies, vegan pastries, and the famous Dr. J, a breakfast sammie with tofu egg, sausage patty, cheez sauce, avocado, organic arugula, tomato, and owner Krystal Harris’s Southwest aioli, made with soy-free mayo, parsley, dill, and paprika. Speaking of famous sandwiches, The Farm Kitchen’s pecan chicken salad sandwich, with roasted chicken, celery, golden raisins, toasted pecans, pesto mayo, tomato, and baby arugula on a baguette, delivers a tasty post-hike bite in a picturesque setting.

click to enlarge Pomegranate Cafe's gluten-free mac and cheese with habanero Buffalo cauliflower and BBQ jackfruit.  - ALLISON YOUNG

Pomegranate Cafe’s gluten-free mac and cheese with habanero Buffalo cauliflower and BBQ jackfruit.

Allison Young

Telegraph Pass Trail
Breakfast: Biscuits Restaurant
1241 East Chandler Boulevard
Lunch: Pomegranate Cafe
4025 East Chandler Boulevard

The south side of South Mountain may have fewer rock formations, but it also has fewer people, which makes trail running a breeze. For a biscuits-and-gravy kind of breakfast, the family-owned Biscuits Restaurant has a farmhouse feel and a menu to match. May we suggest the South Mountain Scramble, biscuits Benedict, or the corned beef hash and eggs? For healthier fare, Pomegranate’s menu of vibrant vegan and vegetarian dishes will not erase your hike. The raw tacos with purple cabbage, walnut chorizo, and pico and the gluten-free mac and cheese with habanero Buffalo cauliflower or BBQ jackfruit are favorites. Chase your lunch with a refreshing hibiscus cooler.

click to enlarge Everything is oversized at Ranch House Grille.  - ALLISON YOUNG

Everything is oversized at Ranch House Grille.

Allison Young

Double Butte Loop at Papago Park
Breakfast: Ranch House Grille
5618 East Thomas Road
Lunch: The Original Tacos Jalisco
3060 North 68th Street, Scottsdale

Papago’s red-rock formations are otherworldly. Double Butte’s 2.3-mile loop takes you around the beautiful buttes, but you’ll have to go to the east side of Galvin Parkway for a photo op in the iconic Hole in the Rock. Hiking appetites are no match for Ranch House Grille’s oversized plates, where chicken fried steak, hash browns, French toast, and huevos rancheros are bigger than big. For some of the best carne asada tacos in town, head to Tacos Jalisco, a mom-and-pop shop where everything’s fresh, from the homemade tortillas to the standout red salsa. Cool down with a fresh-fruit raspado from Raspa2 Jalisco next door.

click to enlarge Order up at Moon Valley Café.  - ALLISON YOUNG

Order up at Moon Valley Café.

Allison Young

North Mountain
Breakfast: Moon Valley Café
502 East Thunderbird Road
Lunch: Los Reyes de la Torta
9230 North Seventh Street

Trail 44 at North Mountain means you do not have to drive too far or fight for trailhead parking to get a good leg burn in Phoenix. After you complete the 1.7-mile loop, grab breakfast at Moon Valley Café, where the offerings include sizzling breakfast skillets, crispy bacon and hash browns, melt-in-your-mouth Belgian waffles, and mammoth housemade cinnamon and pecan rolls, plus daily $ 4.99 breakfast specials Monday through Friday, all served with a side of diner nostalgia, from the swivel counter stools to the dang good ROC2 coffee (free refills, of course). Or reward those hard-worked muscles with a behemoth sandwich from Los Reyes de la Torta. Whether you go with the meaty, melty Del Ray or the vegetarian Torta de Queso Fresco, these made-to-order tortas come out quick and hot, just what you need after all those steps.

click to enlarge Eggs every which way at Eggstasy.  - ALLISON YOUNG

Eggs every which way at Eggstasy.

Allison Young

Pinnacle Peak Trail
Breakfast: Eggstasy
20775 North Pima Road, Scottsdale
Lunch: New York Bagels a Bialys
8876 East Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale

Pinnacle Peak’s 3.5-mile out-and-back trail is popular, and for good reason: The boulder-studded trail is well-groomed, with sweeping views. Afterward, breakfast at Eggstasy at DC Ranch offers egg-cellent egg dishes with punny names (yes, you can order an Eggasm) – not that you can go wrong with the pancakes, skillets, or waffles. For carbs and comfort, Bagels’ n Bialys has hole-y offerings that hit the spot, especially after a sweat sesh. Bagels are baked daily, and flavored cream cheeses are mixed in-house. Order the popular open-face lox and cream cheese, or get a dozen bagels with a tub of cream cheese to go. And yes, you’ve earned a rugelach for the road.

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