Hiking season could not be more timely in Phoenix, where we spend summers indoors and winters outdoors. With the holidays approaching, the more calories we burn, the more we can eat, right?
If your start your weekend with a cool early-morning stroll on the trails, you have earned a reward of a satiating breakfast or brunch. And if you can hit a spot that’s a short drive away and show up in casual if not dusty gear, even better.
Here are 10 Valley restaurants within a short drive of popular hiking spots that offer relaxing patios, delicious brunch options and, perhaps best of all, welcome your hiking attire.
Follow up a scenic stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden or neighboring Papago Park over brunch favorites like French toast with brioche and prickly pear jam ($7, $13); and the salmon spread served with minced egg, chives, shallots, capers and an everything bagel ($14). The steak and eggs challenges big appetites, with Niman Ranch flatiron and local eggs served with fingerling potatoes and salsa verde ($18). Brunch hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.
Morning Glory Cafe
Sit amid shady trees and lush lawns minutes away from South Mountain and recharge with homemade granola and fruit ($7.95); or house-smoked trout served with shaved red onions, Campari tomatoes, toasted bagel, cream cheese and herb salad ($13.95). What do you get with Back to Your Roots ($12.95)? An assortment of seasonal vegetables that are roasted and sauteed and topped with two eggs over easy — the buttermilk biscuit is there for the taking. Breakfast hours: 8-11 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. weekends.
North Mountain Brewing
After a Sunday-morning hike at North Mountain Park, reward yourself with a hearty plate paired with one of the Sunnyslope brewery’s pints. The Shaw Butte Breakfast includes hash browns, eggs, gravy and your choice of meat ($7). One of the new additions is the chilaquiles, which are tortilla chips dipped in spicy pepper sauce and topped with eggs, Cheddar and cotija cheese ($8). Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
The new location on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard is a short drive from Gateway Loop Trail at the McDowell Sonoran Conservatory, and it welcomes patrons with a bar for build-your-own Bloody Marys ($10). Stick-to-your-ribs offerings include chilaquiles, made with tortilla chips simmered in green chile sauce, pulled chicken, cotija cheese, cream and two fried eggs ($12); and corned beef hash with caramelized onions, hash potatoes and Swiss cheese ($12). You can also build your own frittata ($10). Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.
The Herb Box
All three branches, now with renowned chef Alex Stratta as director of culinary operations, are within a short drive from McDowell Mountains, Pinnacle Peak, Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. Get a veggie fix with the baby kale, Brie and apple omelet, served with coffee molasses-glazed bacon and wheat toast ($13). Replenish over the breakfast burrito, filled with eggs, black beans and cheese, served with ancho-pasilla salsa and fruit salad $11). Brunch hours: DC Ranch and Phoenix locations, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays; Old Town Scottsdale, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
After taking on Camelback Mountain, lounge over a breakfast parfait with layers of yogurt, mango, berries and homemade granola ($9); or the garden-fresh veggie omelet with oven-roasted tomatoes, squash, basil, spinach and creamy goat cheese ($12). Brunch hours: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. weekends (Bloody Mary and mimosa bar available 9 a.m.-3 p.m.).
You’ll find yourself on the spacious patio minutes after tackling the trails at Camelback Mountain. Refuel with Lon’s famous baked brioche monkey bread covered with caramel ($5); and the vegetarian egg-white frittata with portobello mushroom, tomato, asparagus and Crow’s Dairy goat cheese ($14). The traditional eggs Benedict tops an English muffin with poached eggs, pea-meal bacon and hollandaise ($13). Brunch hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekends.
Nothing like a relaxing brunch to follow a nature hike surrounded by wildlife at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. Try the grilled focaccia topped with two eggs over easy, asparagus, tomato salad and herbed butter ($9); or the Farm Scramble, which is made with roasted Yukon gold potatoes scrambled with eggs, herbs, onion, Gruyere and white Cheddar, and served with mixed greens and tomato salad ($10). White peach Bellini and Postino mimosa are $5. Brunch hours: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. weekends.
The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen
After grueling runs up and down the steep trails of Tempe Butte, aka “A” Mountain, bring your heart rate down while walking to this outdoorsy-themed spot. Then give in to the French toast made with cinnamon batter ($7); or the Lumberjack version topped with walnuts, sauteed bananas, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream ($8.50). After the first mimosa $10, each refill is a penny. Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
The Haymaker Restaurant Co.
After an early-morning hike at Estrella Mountain Park, partake in a hearty three-egg omelet on the patio of this Goodyear restaurant. Among the several options: The California, with avocado, sauteed onions, tomato and Cheddar ($9.50); the Arizona, with green chile, onion, salsa and pepper Jack cheese ($9); and the chili, a Cheddar omelet topped with “Mama’s Chili,” Cheddar and onions. Breakfast hours: 7-10:30 a.m. weekdays, 7-11:30 a.m. weekends.