Based out of Scottsdale, we here at WLH have many favorite, top hiking spots. This city is PERFECT for the adventurer type. And since Scottsdale is such a good place to adventure, this is EXACTLY what we do. Since we’ve been selling real estate here so long, we thought we’d share some of our best hiking hotspots. First we will bullet point them, then tell you a bit about each of our fav area to hike in and around Scottsdale. We hope you enjoy the read.
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The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is one of the largest urban preserves in the United States, spanning over 30,000 acres. It offers over 225 miles of scenic trails suitable for hikers of all levels. Some popular trail options include:
Tom’s Thumb Trail: This moderate 4-mile round trip offers stunning views of the McDowell Mountains and the desert landscape. A challenging yet rewarding hike. It takes you to the iconic granite formation known as Tom’s Thumb. You HAVE to see this.
Gateway Loop Trail:A 4.5-mile loop offering a perfect Preserve introduction. This easy-to-moderate hike offers panoramic views. Moreover it features a variety of desert vegetation, including saguaro cacti and palo verde trees.
Pinnacle Peak Park is a local favorite. The park offers a well-maintained 3.5-mile round-trip trail. It’s awesome. It winds through the diverse Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Key highlights include:
Rock climbing opportunities: Pinnacle Peak is a renowned spot for rock climbers, with several climbing routes available for various skill levels.
Wildlife sightings: Watch for desert dwellers such as Gila monsters, jackrabbits, and various bird species.
The Lost Dog Wash Trailhead provides access to a network of trails within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Make sure to try:
Sunrise Trail: This 4-mile round-trip hike offers panoramic views of Scottsdale and the surrounding mountains. It is moderately challenging, with an elevation gain of around 1,100 feet.
Lost Dog Wash Trail: An easy 2.5-mile round trip hike with minimal elevation gain. Suitable for families and beginners. The trail offers beautiful views of the McDowell Mountains and desert landscape.
Brown’s Ranch Trailhead offers 50+ miles of interconnected trails within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Some notable options are:
Brown’s Mountain Summit: A moderate 3.5-mile round trip hike with 450 feet of elevation gain. The summit offers 360-degree views of the surrounding desert landscape.
Cone Mountain Loop:A 4.5-mile loop that takes you around the base of Cone Mountain, showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. Lastly, let’s take a look at Camelback Mountain!
Camelback Mountain is one of Scottsdale’s most iconic landmarks. It offers two challenging trails:
Echo Canyon Trail: A steep and challenging 2.4-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. This trail requires scrambling and offers spectacular views of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Cholla Trail: A less steep but challenging 3.1-mile round-trip hike. Elevation gain of 1,200 feet. Breathtaking views of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and the surrounding mountains. We LOVE it.
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In this article, we’ve explored our top five hiking spots in Scottsdale, which include McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Pinnacle Peak Park, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, and Camelback Mountain. Now, let’s delve into how each of these captivating locations transforms with the changing seasons, offering unique experiences and breathtaking views year-round.
During spring, the desert comes alive with a vibrant display of wildflowers. Expect to see blossoms like the fiery orange Mexican poppies, delicate purple lupines, and bright yellow brittlebushes adorning the trails. The mild temperatures make it an ideal time to hit the trails and witness nature’s magnificent display.
Summer brings intense heat to Scottsdale, making early morning or late evening hikes the best options. It’s crucial to stay hydrated and be cautious of the high temps. The cacti, including the iconic saguaro, produce beautiful blossoms that attract various pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and bats. Monsoon storms can also add an element of excitement, creating dramatic skies and cooler temperatures after the rainfall. We LOVE living here.
Fall is a fantastic time for check out our top hiking spots in Scottsdale, Arizona! Temperatures begin to cool down and the trails become more enjoyable. The foliage takes on a subtle change. Imagine shades of gold and rust adorning the desert landscape. Keep an eye out for the unique textures and colors of plants like the ocotillo, cholla, and creosote bush (they shift with the season).
Though snow is a rare occurrence in Scottsdale, winter does bring cooler temperatures and the occasional frost. This makes it an excellent time for hiking, with crisp, clear skies and comfortable conditions. Be sure to dress in layers, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day.
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What is the best time of year to hike in Scottsdale?
The best time to hike in Scottsdale is from November to April when temperatures are cooler. Also, let us WARN you, the risk of encountering extreme heat is very high. We’ve know. Selling real estate in 110-degree weather is brutal. Hiking in it is FOOLISH.
What should I bring when hiking in Scottsdale?
Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, snacks, and a fully charged cell phone. Also, wearing appropriate footwear and dressing in layers is recommended. Be smart.
Expert Tips for Hiking in Scottsdale
Choose the right trail for your skill level: To maximize your hiking experience, select a route that matches your abilities and comfort level. In Scottsdale’s top hiking spots, you’ll find many trails. These include easy and flat to steep and challenging ascents.
Stay on designated trails:Always remain on designated trails to protect the delicate desert ecosystem and ensure your safety. Venturing off-trail can lead to erosion, plant damage, and an increased risk of getting lost. Moreover, you don’t wan to encounter any dangerous wildlife.
Respect wildlife: Observe animals from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Never feed wild animals or approach them too closely, as this can harm you and the wildlife.
Leave no trace: Practice the Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all trash, staying on established trails, and avoiding the removal of any natural or cultural features. This will help preserve Scottsdale’s beautiful landscapes for future generations.
Plan ahead: Before heading out on a hike, research the trail conditions, weather forecast, and any potential hazards. Proper planning can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.
How did you like our recommendations for the top hiking spots in Scottsdale? Are you going to get out and try them? If so, let us know. Scottsdale offers a wealth of hiking opportunities for all skill levels, allowing you to explore the breathtaking beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Following expert tips and staying informed can ensure a memorable and safe hiking adventure in this stunning landscape. See you on the trails.