Even if you are not a huge fan of hiking and climbing to the top of the tallest peaks, it can be a good thing to go outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you just bought your first pair of hiking shoes or trail runners, or you are a backpacking expert – there are trails for everyone, and anyone, when you visit the incredible state of Arizona.
Scottsdale offers access to numerous paths, trails, and forests that dot the outside of the city limits. It is no wonder that people flock here from all over the world to see the natural beauty, push their fitness limits, and have nice nature walks with their loved ones. Keep reading to see some of the best trails that are must-do’s during your visit here in this picturesque town in the western part of the US. Leave the dreary northeastern weather behind, or the dreaded Florida humidity, and head here to climb some of the most picturesque mountains in the entire country. Here are the Top 5 Hiking Trails in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Gateway Loop Trail
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is home to miles and miles of trails that overlook the nearby desert, town, and lush green forest. The Gateway Loop Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve has just a little bit of everything, making it the best option for those who want to see the cacti, desert landscapes, and rolling green hills.
This trail is less than five miles long, making it ideal for those who don’t want to spend their entire day on a trail. If you are looking for a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, not only is McDowell Sonoran Preserve easy to get to, but the Gateway Loop Trail isn’t too busy during most parts of the year.
Plus, you won’t break too much of a sweat during your holiday here. The Gateway Loop Trail offers 655 feet in elevation gain, which is just enough to have your heart pounding without being too strenuous for those who are not interested in spending hours and hours on the trail.
Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail
If good views and amazing landscapes are what you are after, the Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail in Pinnacle Peak Park will tick all of your boxes. This trail is moderately challenging for most fit people, so you should wear your trail runners or sneakers, bring a backpack, and head out on this trail for an early morning jog or a sunset hike with your family.
This path is wide and smooth, making it good for busy days when you might run into other people on the trail. Make sure you bring your phone, or camera, and it is fully charged so you can get incredible panoramic pictures of the nearby landscape. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the flora, fauna, and wildlife in the desert, like jackrabbits and cacti along the trail’s edges.
Lost Dog Wash
Head back to the famous McDowell Sonoran Preserve and take the Lost Dog Wash Trail this time as you head out for a day full of fun and adventure. The Lost Dog Wash Trail climbs a lower ridge than other mountains the preserve, making it one of the most popular trails for those who are beginners at getting their feet dirty.
Not only will you get incredible views of Camelback Mountain and the nearby Pinnacle Peak, but you can spend around 2-3 hours on a trail without having too much of a taxing time. Coming in at just around 5 miles and approximately 380 feet in elevation gain, this easy/moderate trail is great for beginners and family-friendly groups.
If you do this trail, try and go during a non-busy peak time! Tom’s Thumb is one of the most popular trails in the entire state – and you will see why. This fun trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve offers one of the best viewpoints of the incredible rock formations that dot the desert landscape.
The Tom’s Thumb Trail has more than 1,200 feet of elevation gain in just 2.3 miles, so make sure you bring tons of water, lace up your hiking shoes, and bring layers in case of any weather changes. This out-and-back trail is great for trail runners or those who want to get a short workout before exploring the other parts of Scottsdale.
Go John Trail
For desert lovers who are interested in seeing animals, flora, and fauna as they undertake a few hours out on the trail, this is the best option for you. The Go John Trail provides the perfect atmosphere to see animals, wildlife, and blossoming flowers in the spring and fall months. This moderate trail is enough to break a sweat, without being too taxing.
Pack your hiking shoes or your upcoming trip to Scottsdale this fall season!