The beautiful Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale manages to embody its Wild West roots in its charming Old Town, while still proving itself as an up-and-coming city that is home to trendy galleries, large shopping malls and excellent nightlife. Its location in Arizona’s stunning Sonoran Desert gives it a warm climate and an ever-changing backdrop of statuesque saguaro cactus, rugged mountains and wide, endless skies. Visitors to this part of Arizona should take the opportunity to explore some of Scottsdale’s many hiking trails for a chance to spot some wildlife and take in the incredible desert landscape.
While hiking offers the benefit of enjoying beautiful scenery, breathing fresh air and the chance to get the blood pumping in your veins, it also promises excellent long-term benefits, like reducing the chance of developing heart disease, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure levels, strengthening muscles and improving balance. Depending on the level of strenuousness, it can also be an excellent way to burn calories. Hit some of these trails around Scottsdale to work off some excess energy and enjoy the wide, picturesque vistas.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Dedicated hikers will love exploring this area of Scottsdale, as it offers more than a hundred miles of hiking trails. A local favorite is the Brown’s Ranch trailhead, located on Alma School Parkway and is a moderate trail leading to Pinnacle Peak. This is an area known for spotting birds of prey roosting in trees or flying overhead, but keep your eyes on the ground as well, as there are sometimes snakes sunning themselves on the trail. McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trail
Lost Dog Wash
This evocatively-named trail was once a favorite of Jeep-operated tour guides, given its location is tucked up against the McDowell Mountains. The trail gradually climbs upwards, featuring excellent views as far as the eye can see. Look out for Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture, which should be visible as you climb higher. Access to the trail is just off of 124th Street. Lost Dog Wash Trail
Go John Trail
Part of the Cave Creek Regional Park, this trail often features glimpses of the slow-moving but fascinating desert tortoise. Depending on the time of year, it’s a great trail for enjoying the colorful desert wildflowers that spring up after a heavy rain. Parts of the trail involve steep slopes, but overall, it’s a great trail for most hikers. You’ll find Cave Creek Park near 32nd Street, with access to the trailhead there. Go John Trail
This slightly more advanced trail is one of the area’s more strenuous hikes, but the views are spectacular. Access the trail from 136th Street, and don’t forget to pack enough water and sunscreen, as this hike will take you over 1,000 feet higher than the valley floor. Sunrise Trail
The Gateway Loop Trail
An excellent hike for beginners, families with small children and pets, or those who enjoy a leisurely pace, the Gateway Loop allows visitors to enjoy the peaceful desert solitude with a gentle elevation. The trail also ends exactly where it begins, making it ideal for those who only have an hour or two to devote to hiking. You’ll find the trailhead clearly marked on Thompson Peak Parkway. The Gateway Loop Trail