It may be too hot to got out and explore your favorite East Valley spots during the summer day, but what about after the sun goes down? If you wait until dusk, temperatures drop, a breeze starts to blow, and the Arizona outdoors is pleasant again. We’ve found five local nighttime adventures from hiking under a full moon, night mountain biking, scorpion hunting or star viewing that are perfect for all ages to enjoy this summer. 

  1. Flashlight Walks, Full Moon Hikes and Scorpion Hunts at Usery Mountain Regional Park

Usery Mountain Regional Park makes it easy to enjoy the desert at night. They put on weekly activities in the evening hours, including movies, animal flashlight walks, full moon hikes and even scorpion hunts. Here are a few scheduled for July/August:

All About Scorpions and Scorpion Hunt, July 14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Animal Flashlight Walk, July 20, 7:30 p.m.

Full Moon Hike, July 27, 7:30 p.m.

Movie Night, Aug. 4

Save the link, they have more every month!

When: Throughout the summer months

Cost: Free, but annual passes are available for further exploration for $85 that can be used at most Maricopa County park locations.

Location: 3939 N. Usery Park Rd., Mesa. About 20 minutes from Cadence.

2. Night Shredders Mountain Biking and Sunset Photography Walk at San Tan Regional Park

San Tan Regional Park has several activities to get you off the couch and moving at the end of a hot day. Experience Night Shredders Mountain Biking, where every bump, dip and shadow gives an extra pop of adrenaline. Darkness heightens your senses, sharpens your skills and makes you feel more alive. They have a “No Rider Left Behind,” that means bikers ride together in a group for safety reasons. See how to prepare for the adventure here. Riders under 18 must complete a parental consent form. 

Or, you can discover great vantage points for capturing the colors, shadows and silhouettes of the Sonoran desert on the monthly Sunset Photography Walk. Go out as a group and come back at your own pace. Tripods welcome. They also have scorpion hunts.

Night Shredders, July 18, 7:30 p.m.

Sunset Photography Walk, Aug. 2, 7 p.m.

When: Throughout the summer months.

Cost: Free, but annual passes are available for further exploration for $85 that can be used at most Maricopa County park locations.

Location: 6533 W Phillips Rd, Queen Creek. About 26 minutes from Cadence.

3. Mysterious Superstition Mountain Hiking at the Lost Dutchman State Park

Lost Dutchman State Park is beautiful at night and also has full moon hikes and scorpion hunting. Their guided 2.5-mile hike on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail is popular among locals and visitors. Located at the base of the mysterious Superstition Mountains under the light of the full moon, the hike showcases the park and the beautiful Arizona sky.

Desert Scorpion Hunting, July 14, 8 p.m.

Full Moon Hike, July 28, 8 p.m.

When: Throughout the summer months

Cost: $7 per vehicle

Location: 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction. About 29 minutes from Cadence.

4. Flashlight Tours at the Desert Botanical Garden

Experience the sounds and mysteries of a desert night on a Flashlight Tour at the Desert Botanical Garden. Beam your own flashlights as you walk along the garden trails and see the night-blooming plants and find out what the desert animals are up to at night. You can discover a different nocturnal adventure every night.


Saturday nights, May 26 – Sept. 1, from 7 – 9:30 p.m.


Free with general admission. General admission: Under 3 is free, $12.95 for ages 3-17 and $24.95 for adults.


1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. About 35 minutes from Cadence, but worth the drive!

5. Star Party and Observatory Viewing at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve

The East Valley Astronomy Club sponsors a free public star party each month at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert. The event is scheduled on the second Friday of each month, weather permitting. The star party begins at dusk. You can observe stars through member’s telescopes.

There is also an astronomy related talk in the adjoining public library at 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in purchasing a telescope, or have questions about a telescope you already own, this is a great way to view a variety of telescopes and learn from our experienced volunteers.

The observatory at the preserve is open each Friday and Saturday evening from dark until 9:30 p.m., weather permitting, and is located in the Gilbert Riparian Preserve next to the Gilbert Library.  (Greenfield and Guadalupe).

When: Second Friday of each month, weather permitting at dusk, with library talk at 7:40 p.m. Observatory is open each Friday and Saturday from dark until 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Address: 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert. About 15 minutes from Cadence.

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