Experiencing The Best Hikes Near Scottsdale
What is one of the best ways to enjoy the Sonoran Desert? On foot, of course. The Phoenix Valley is full of excellent hiking trails, especially in Scottsdale and surrounding communities. When the weather cools, many area residents take to the trails for exercise and to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings.
Most residents are only minutes away from a great hike. Some Scottsdale neighborhoods even have running and walking paths that connect to some of the area’s best trails. You’ll find family-friendly and easy trails, along with challenging ones with steep climbs, all with outstanding scenery. So, put on your boots, fill up your water bottle and make sure you have sunscreen. It’s time to enjoy the best Scottsdale and North Valley hikes.
This beloved Valley icon of red sandstone and granite has two challenging climbs for the hikers, both reaching the summit. The Echo Canyon Trail starts at the “camel’s head,” while the less-crowded Cholla Trail is just as challenging and picturesque. Both have steep, rocky terrain and slick patches.
Tom’s Thumb Trail
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is full of beautiful hikes, but Tom’s Thumb Trail is one of the best. It has a four-mile out-and-back walk that is short yet steep and full of switchbacks. You’ll love the views of the surrounding mountains and Phoenix but be prepared, as there is little shade. Yet, this hike is worth any discomfort you may feel as you enjoy spiny cacti, millennia-old geologic wonders, panoramic desert views, not to mention quick-footed desert creatures.
Pinnacle Peak Park
Head to North Scottsdale for one of the area’s best outdoor experiences. The Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail is hard to beat. This 3.5-mile round-trip experience features one of the area’s most picturesque hikes with towering saguaros, abundant wildlife and spectacular views. The trail is wide in smooth, even though you’ll experience an elevation change of 1,300 feet to the top. Keep your camera handy as you’ll want to snap photos of the views as well as wildlife like quail, jackrabbits, cactus wrens and roadrunners.
Go John Trail
This hike in Cave Creek Regional Park is a six-mile trek that loops around jasper-studded hills. This moderate trail has several bursts of additional difficulty, but it also has gorgeous views of the nearby Spur Cross Ranch.
Bajada Nature Trail
Located in Scottsdale’s Preserve, this trail is wide, scenic and ideal for families with young children who want to introduce them to the desert. It’s also great for those with mobility challenges, as it is one of the area’s easiest hikes. This half-mile hook has a minimal elevation gain and a hard, smooth surface that allows you to view plants, animals, geology and topography.
Jewel of the Creek Preserve
The Dragonfly Trail in Cave Creek’s Jewel of the Creek Preserve is a hidden gem. The well-defined dirt path is accessible for walkers to navigate, with only a few rocky spots. Dragonflies and butterflies are numerous in this desert oasis with water and lots of greenery.