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Our Top 5 Hikes in Scottsdale, Arizona

By Editor 2022, March

Whatever brings you to Arizona, there’s no better way to experience the wide-open Sonoran Desert landscapes than by getting outside.

Luckily there is something for every skill level in Scottsdale, with trails for casual walkers and experienced hiking enthusiasts alike. We’ve highlighted our favorite area trails, including one in our own backyard on Camelback Mountain — so fill up your water bottles, lace up your hiking boots, and let’s get moving!

 

Echo Canyon | Camelback Mountain

The summit of our namesake, Camelback Mountain, is accessible by Echo Canyon Trail (there’s also Cholla Trail if you feel so inclined). Hop on the trail near the “camel’s head,” but expect steep, rocky terrain all the way to the top. The payoff is worth it, however, with sweeping views of the landscape below.

 

Bajada Nature Trail | McDowell Sonoran Preserve 

An excellent option for families with little ones in tow, this wide and flat trail offers an educational introduction to Arizona’s unique Sonoran Desert. In addition to mountain views, the path is surrounded by wildflowers, local fauna, and visited by many local bird species, also making it a top spot for bird watchers.

 

Tom’s Thumb | McDowell Sonoran Preserve 

Marcus Landslide Trail, the shortest of the Tom’s Thumb trailhead hiking options, is a four-mile out and back trek. The trail follows the path of a historic landslide which took place 500,000 years ago and features huge granite boulders. Expect gorgeous views of North Scottsdale and the McDowell Mountains.

 

Pinnacle Peak Summit | Pinnacle Peak Park

On the shorter side, the Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail is a quick trip to the top and back out, offering expansive views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. This popular trail can get busy on weekends, so head out in the early morning to enjoy the native residents like road runners (yes, they’re real), jackrabbits, and other wildlife. 

 

Gateway Loop Trail | McDowell Sonoran Preserve 

The moderate incline of the Gateway Loop Trail makes it a great option for families with new hikers. The preserve offers glimpses into the wildlife and ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert and is a perfect way to experience this special landscape. PS This trail is also dog friendly so you don’t have to leave your 4-legged hiking buddy home.

 

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