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Papago Park

Papago Park is a municipal park of the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona.  It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

Papago Park
625 North Galvin Parkway

Questions: 602-495-5458

Park Hours of Operation:
Papago Park East Side of Galvin Parkway
6:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Past Park Trails/Trail Head
(West Side of Galvin Parkway)

Sunrise to Sunset or 7:00 PM
(Whichever comes first)

View Larger Map 

Papago Park is a hilly desert park covering some 1,200 acres in its Phoenix extent, and some 296 acres in its Tempe extent (the latter is also referred to specifically as Tempe Papago Park). The park is surrounded by the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale.
Papago Park is notable for its many distinctive geological formations and its wide variety of typical desert plants, including the giant saguaro cactus. The park also features the Desert Botanical Garden, a large zoo (the Phoenix Zoo), picnic areas, several small lakes, hiking trails, bicycle paths, a fire museum, and Hunt's Tomb, the pyramidal tomb of Arizona's first governor, George W. P. Hunt. Tempe Papago Park includes baseball and softball fields, picnic ramadas, a small lake, and other features. Rolling Hills Golf Course is within the park between its Phoenix and Tempe extremities.
The distinctive red sandstone geological formations of Papago Park were formed some 6-15 million years ago. One such formation, Hole-in-the-Rock, is a major landmark, thanks to the openings (tafoni) eroded in the formation over time. There is some evidence that the Hohokam—a now-extinct aboriginal tribe that once lived in the Phoenix area—used the openings and sunlight to track the solstices.
There are also some signs of Precambrian granite in the park. The bedrock is concealed by only a thin layer of topsoil.
Papago Park was designated a reservation for the local Maricopa and Pima tribes of aboriginal Americans in 1879. It became the Papago Saguaro National Monument in 1914, but this status was abolished by Congress in 1930; divided amongst the state of Arizona, the city of Tempe, the Arizona National Guard, and the Salt River Project. During World War II, the park housed a POW camp and contained as many as 3,100 prisoners from 1942 to 1944. It was also the site of the largest mass escape from any United States prison camp in World War II. The Great Papago Escape occurred on December 23, 1944 when 25 prisoners, including German U-boat commander Jürgen Wattenberg, escaped the camp using a 178-foot tunnel and made their way to the Arizona desert. Many prisoners quickly realized that they knew nothing about the landscape or climate and turned themselves back in. Wattenberg was the last to be captured, on January 28, 1945. After the war it served as a VA hospital from 1947 to 1951, then an Army Reserve facility. The state owned portion of the park was sold to the city of Phoenix on February 25, 1959. A portion of the Tempe park was conveyed to that city in 1935, and a parcel within that portion was conveyed to the Salt River Project in 1955. An 18-hole championship golf course was built by the city of Phoenix and completed in 1963
The park was also the finish line in the fourth season of The Amazing Race.
Papago Ponds
The Ponds have a surface area of 6 acres with an average depth of 8 feet, the elevation of the area is 1,100 feet.

Reservable Ramadas

  • RAMADA #2
    4 Tables, Each 18' Long
    3 Grills
    Restrooms across Roadway
    Available Parking: 24
    FEE: $35*
  • RAMADAS 9&10 Island
    Stage with Grass Seating Area
    2 Horseshoe pits
    Available Parking: 42
    FEE: $60*
    NOTE: Large groups must use Zoo Parking Lot for additional spaces.
  • RAMADA #16
    4 Tables Each 21' Long
    3 Grills
    Restrooms at SE end of Lake WL
    Available Parking: 20FEE: $35*

First Come First Served Ramadas

  • RAMADA #11(Lake #2)
    2 Tables
    1 Grill, 1 Fireplace
    Available Parking: 20
  • RAMADA #12 (Lake #I)
    1 Table, 21' Long
    1 Grill
    Available Parking: 11
  • RAMADA #13 (Lake #I)
    1 Table, 21' Long
    1 Grill
    Available Parking: 42
  • RAMADA #I4
    2 Tables, Each 21' Long
    2 Grills
  • RAMADA #15
    4 Tables, Each 21' Long
    4 Grills

*Fees listed are for Phoenix Residents. Non-Residents will pay a fee that is 50% more.

Mountain Park Ramada Guidelines

  1. Reservations can also be made at any City of Phoenix Community Center or district office. For questions contact Natural Resources Division District Office at 602-495-5458, Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm.
  2. Only one reservation per day between 8am and 6pm, per ramada allowed. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  3. Beer permits are only allowed with a ramada reservation. They cannot be sold separately for the parks and preserves. A beer permit is required for consumption of beer at the ramadas. Hard liquor or glass containers are not permitted in any city park. Permit holder must be present. Beer permits are non-refundable.
  4. No amplified music/sound (PA Systems, music, microphones, etc) is permitted in the mountain preserve ramadas.
  5. No bounce houses are allowed in the parks and preserves.
  6. The permit and a responsible party (18 years of age or older) must be on-site when the ramada is being used. The permit holder will leave the ramada in a clean and neat condition. The total reserved time includes any time needed by the permittee for set up and cleans up.
  7. Ramada Reservations are not allowed more than 6 months out and only 3 reservations in a 3 month period are allowed per person or group. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.
  8. Special events such as runs, walks, etc. must be coordinated with the individual Park Supervisors.
  9. Some ramadas are first come, first serve and do not require a reservation. (Please refer to the area to the left - middle section for information). Parks containing ramadas not listed are not available for reservation and are first come first serve.
  10. Maximum capacity guidelines for each area will be strictly enforced.
  11. Ramadas are not reservable on Easter but are first come, first serve.
  12. Parks and ramadas are closed on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays. No reservations or park visitors are allowed that day.
  13. Smoking is not allowed outside of vehicles.
  14. Observe fire and grilling restrictions during Fire Ban season.
  15. No dunk tanks, piñatas, confetti or inflatables are allowed in mountain parks.
  16. Ramadas can be decorated, however the use of tape, nails or staples are prohibited.
  17. Catering is permitted at reservable ramadas, however the caterers must be made aware that all that is brought in must be removed. No dumping of waste or trash is allowed in the parks and preserves. Food must be prepared off site as there are no facilities available.
  18. Only parking lots may be used for loading an unloading. Vehicles may not be driven or parked on turf areas, sidewalks, service driveways, or emergency zones. Parking lots may not be used as serving areas from catering vehicles. Unloaded trailers must park in the remote parking lots. Parking is limited and not guaranteed for ramada reservations.
  19. Some ramadas may have electrical outlets and water, however electricity and water are not guaranteed.
  20. Domestic animal owners must comply with the park rules and regulations.

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