McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve includes more than 31,000 acres of Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert. You’ll find more than 180 miles of popular trails nestled within the McDowell Mountains—allowing you to explore the Preserve from sunrise to sunset. Its five major trailheads include the Gateway Trail and Tom’s Thumb Hike.
The Preserve is home to lush geography, diverse wildlife and stunning cacti forests. Visitors to this North Scottsdale destination can enjoy going on a hike through Lookout Viewpoint and Tom’s Thumb Hike, as well as participate in other outdoor Arizona activities like biking, rock climbing, running and horseback riding. Just make sure you bring plenty of water and stay hydrated because the desert sun is much hotter than it seems, especially in the summer.

Camelback Mountain

If you’re a hiking pro, taking a trip to Camelback Mountain is not only a must when visiting the Phoenix metropolitan area, it’s considered one of the nation’s top hiking destinations period. Visitors from around the world head to the Valley of the Sun to take on the famous Camelback Mountain hike, and they aren’t disappointed by either of its two main trails, Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail.
Camelback Mountain trails offer unmatched views of the stunning Phoenix landscape, and either of these paths will provide a challenge as they include steep elevation gains, harsh elements and Arizona terrain. This popular Phoenix destination is busiest on the weekends and during the cooler months (October through April), so be prepared for crowds if you visit during those times.

Pinnacle Peak Park

If you’re more of a beginning or moderate hiker, you might enjoy hiking in Scottsdale at Pinnacle Peak Park. This beautiful Arizona desert park features a 1.75-mile trail set on 150 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely Pinnacle Peak hike, or you can take part in more interactive—and social—interpretive tours, moonlight walks and astronomy talks.
Those who are a little more adventurous may try heading out on the Pinnacle Peak trail to try their hand at rock climbing, but please bring the appropriate gear for this activity (the park requires it). For visitors hoping to spot desert wildlife, you’re in for a treat. This area is home to gila monsters, grey foxes, mule deer, javelina, bobcat and mountain lions and more in their natural habitat.

Additional Hiking Trails Nearby