It’s the season when we all want to be outdoors. The desert, so cruel for so long, welcomes us again with open arms. If the blast-furnace heat of summer kept you off the trails for months, you’ll want to ease into things. To work yourself back into hiking shape, start with some easy trails.

Just don’t let the rating undersell their attractions.

Even trails regarded as easy reward alert hikers in countless ways. Each of these five trails delivers the full desert experience. Watch for wildlife and enjoy plenty of mild winter sunshine. Savor the big scenic views and admire the saguaros as tall as office buildings. That’s all worth getting out and walking around for a while.

GO EXPLORE:Best hikes in Phoenix; trails for every ability

Spur Cross Conservation Area

Treat yourself to a surprising bit of lushness at this park spread across upland Sonoran Desert and carved by a spring-fed stream.

Start out bearing left on the Spur Cross Trail, a segment of the mighty Maricopa Trail. It soon crosses the creek, which flows at trickle level most times. Turn right onto the Metate Trail as it weaves through a lovely mesquite bosque. Giant saguaros tower over the trail that skirts past a solar oasis pond, a popular watering hole for all sorts of critters. A little farther on you’ll find an ancient grinding stone, known as a metate.

SONORAN DESERT:Hiking at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

A short (0.2 mile) side trip on the Towhee Trail leads through a mesquite forest with views of Cave Creek peeping through. Soon, Metate Trail reconnects with Spur Cross and another right turn will bring you back to the trailhead for a 2.1-mile loop.