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.
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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!