The Phoenix Valley is surrounded by hills and mountain ranges that make the city a hiker's paradise. Popular hiking spots include South Mountain Regional Park, which has an extensive trail system. Of course, all hikers need to visit the iconic Camelback Mountain, the city's most recognizable natural monument. The popular Echo Canyon recreational area offers great views and trails for hikers of all levels.
With triple-digit summer temperatures, hiking becomes a morning activity during the hot season, but in winter the trails are busy at all hours of the day. Iconic desert resorts, such as the Arizona Biltmore, date back to a time when visitors came to Phoenix in search of clean air and healing sunshine from the region. The Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert (of which Phoenix is part) has the most structurally diverse flora in the United States. The story of Phoenix begins with Jack Swilling, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War who searched the nearby mining town of Wickenburg, in the newly formed Arizona territory.
With the creation of the Phoenix Sister Cities (PSC) organization in 1972, Phoenix became a member of the international sister cities movement. The Territorial Legislature passed the Phoenix Charter Bill, incorporating Phoenix and providing mayor-council government; Governor John C. The Phoenix metropolitan area is also home, of course, to the popular Waste Management Phoenix Open, which was played at the legendary Scottsdale TPC. At the end of the decade, Phoenix adopted the Phoenix Concept 2000 plan that divided the city into urban villages, each with its own village core, where greater height and density were allowed, shaping the culture of free market development.
Phoenix's first newspaper was the weekly Salt River Valley Herald, established in 1878, which would change its name the following year to the Phoenix Herald. Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is part of the Salt River Valley. The most renowned courses are in the thriving community of Scottsdale, but Phoenix is home to the popular Links Course at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club.
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