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Scottsdale Hiking

No trip to Scottsdale is complete without venturing on a hike in the stirring Sonoran Desert. From leisurely jaunts on paved trails to challenging grades and boulder climbs, there are over 300 miles of hiking trails to explore in Scottsdale and the surrounding area. Need a guide on where to start? Here are the six best Scottsdale hiking trails.

Gateway Loop Trail

This tranquil trail offers easy access into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, with just enough elevation to work up a sweat. Looping for 4.5 miles into iconic desert scenery, you might spot jackrabbits scurrying among the giant saguaros and red-blossomed ocotillos. Its easy grades and access points to other trails in the preserve make the Gateway Loop one of the most popular hiking trails in Scottsdale.

Useful Links for Hiking in Scottsdale!

Enjoy Scottsdale Hiking at Bajada Trail

Beginning at the base of the Gateway Loop Trail, the Bajada Trail is a popular hiking trail for families. This easy half-mile loop is fitted with informative signposts for detailed insight into the native desert flora and fauna, the perfect introduction into the landscape. The flat loop provides just enough desert immersion with easy accessibility.

Lost Dog Walsh Trail

For spectacular views of Scottsdale’s iconic landmarks, hit the Lost Dog Walsh Trail. Located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, this trail is an easy to moderate hike up into the mountains with panoramic views of Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak. Take a break at the Lost Dog Overlook, once a Native American tool-making site, and enjoy the bright wildflower blooms.

Tom’s Thumb Trail

Looking for more challenging hiking in Scottsdale Arizona? Tom’s Thumb Trail is one of the area’s most challenging trails with its 1,300-foot climb in just 2.5 miles. Smooth, granite boulders attract rock climbers and advanced hikers to scale the steep grades for fantastic views of Tom’s Thumb, the preserve’s most recognizable feature. The climb up leads you to Lookout Viewpoint, considered the best viewpoint in the preserve.

Echo Canyon Summit Trail

Apart from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, you’ll find excellent hiking at Camelback Mountain. This beloved Scottsdale icon is an enormous red sandstone and granite mountain, famous for its profile of a kneeling camel. The Echo Canyon Summit Trail offers an intense workout with steep rail climbs and rocky terrain, rewarding you with phenomenal views of the valley below.

Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail

This picturesque trail offers the perfect moderate hike within stunning desert scenery. Located just north of Scottsdale in Pinnacle Peak Park, this trail climbs up unique granite formations punctuated by towering saguaros and desert wash along the way. The area is also abundant in wildlife spotting, including jackrabbits, Gamble’s quail, cactus wren, and roadrunner.

Ready to hit the trails? As one of the nation’s top hiking destinations, Scottsdale is the perfect base for your next Arizona adventure. Our vacation rentals in Scottsdale offer boutique accommodations sure to fit your style. Contact us today to book your Scottsdale vacation rental and to learn more about hiking in Scottsdale Arizona!

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Fort McDowell Adventures

This unique company offers a wide range of activities from kayaking, land and river tours, desert Segway adventures and so many more. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline rush or something more serene, you’ll find it with Fort McDowell Adventures. You can schedule corporate, special event, retreats, and even wedding parties at Fort McDowell.
14803 N. Hiawatha Hood Road, Scottsdale
480-816-6465.

Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland, in the heart of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community houses a tropical rainforest that is home to thousands of butterflies from around the world. In addition to the butterflies, there are several galleries with interactive exhibits, a modern theater, and even educational laboratory spaces. This is a perfect place for a family adventure or even a romantic stroll through the gardens. 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, 480-800-3000

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a unique railroad park offering a look at the history of the railroad. The park is home to a one-of-a-kind Model Railroad Building, housing a model railroad, four model railroad clubs, and a Magma Arizona Railroad locomotive. This interactive railroad museum offers a variety of objects and artifacts related to the railroad industry including the Roald Amundsen Pullman Car, the Merci Train, and the Model Railroad. The park also has several playgrounds, picnic areas, and a charming antique carousel, making it perfect for visitors of all ages.
7301 E. Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale
480-312-2312

Octane Raceway

Octane Raceway is an indoor/outdoor racing venue offering a casual and competitive kart racing for all ages. Octane Raceway features a third-mile track, which winds indoors and outdoors, with European electric race karts that travel up to 45 mph. Visitors can come in, register and race, and their race is scored in a Fastest Lap format. Octane Raceway also caters private and special events such as corporate and team building events and birthday parties. The Raceway also has a Trackside Bar & Grill, and several other entertainment facilities, including a Pit Crew Challenge, bowling alley, a games arcade, and billiards.
9119 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale
602-302-7223

Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale

Those with a sweet tooth will love exploring the sweet side of Scottsdale on a guided walking tour that visits all the town’s best chocolate destinations. You’ll visit a variety of chocolatiers and local shops where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the history of this confectionery and how the products are made and sample varieties of the world’s most popular treat, including truffles, hot chocolate, ice-cream, cupcakes, and other baked goods made with or from chocolate and meet the owners and chocolate-makers of some of Scottsdale’s best chocolate stores, while at the same time soaking up the wonderful ambiance of this vibrant town.
4225 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale
408-421-8868

Desert Splash Adventures

Desert Splash Adventures is your go-to source for scenic flights over some of Arizona’s most dramatic, breathtaking landscapes, ending in an exhilarating water landing on Roosevelt Lake or Lake Powell. Operated by Island Air Express, Desert Splash Adventures provides an exclusive and unique desert adventure experience from the comfort of a Cessna Caravan Amphibious Seaplane. Highly experienced commercial bush pilots, (who are based in Alaska in the off season), fly the planes, and they guarantee absolute safety throughout the journey. Start your adventure conveniently located near the Scottsdale Airport, in an executive lounge that is a luxurious space to relax before the flight. Desert Splash Adventures also offers a range of other adventures ranging from gourmet brunches on a private island to canyoneering in the magnificent rock formations of the Sonoran wilderness.
15115 N Airport Drive, Landmark Aviation (FBO), Scottsdale
877-588-8819