Many of us have only ever seen photos of the desert, never seen the sky painted with colors of gold, amber, purple, and red as they feel the temperature almost immediately drop and the critters of the desert come out to play, never looked up at a towering saguaro cactus looming above like a giant from ancient tales, nor never seen the stretching expanses of dark earth, dotted with shrubs painting the desert green. For those of you who are just getting to experience the true beauty of the desert, make sure you check out our list of the top five spots for gorgeous Scottsdale views!
We have all watched movies where the hero is stranded in the desert, their lips parched and cracked, with their skin the texture of worn leather. Then, amazingly, they are saved after stumbling upon some sort of oasis with towering palm trees and pristinely blue waters that glisten and sparkle like sapphires. Well, why not see Scottsdale’s own oasis at Papago Park? This large park was once used as a VA hospital, POW camp, fish hatchery, and reservation. However, now it stands as the perfect place to explore and find some things to do for a day. On top of its golf courses and seven acres of lagoons stocked with fish where you are free to try your luck, it also hosts a rather unique formation that has been drawing onlookers for years, Hole-in-the-Rock. This interesting formation makes for a very easy, very laid back 0.3-mile hike which will take you to the giant hole that nature has dug through the hard rock. Not only is it an easy hike that anyone can do, but it also provides a rather pristine view of the park and fishing lagoons. From your vantage point within the chamber that gives the area its name, Papago Park truly does look like an oasis tucked away amongst the desert and city.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Many of us can get behind the idea that the desert is a rather fragile ecosystem that has been changed by our involvement in the area. Well, McDowell Sonoran Preserve is not only a beautiful conservation that holds some of the most breathtaking views around, not to mention a plethora of trails, but also a fully sustainable desert habitat built to protect those who call the area home. Here you will find over 80 multi-use trails should you be looking for a tiring and rewarding hike, a lovely stroll to take in the beauty that surrounds you, walk your furry little comrade so that they too can enjoy the sights, or even ride a horse. As well, you will find that over half of these trails are rated moderate, which means that just about anyone will be able to travel their length as you are exposed to the dark earth of the desert, painted with the green of foliage and the deep purples and oranges of wildflowers. In addition, you will find that these trails range from a decent walk at 1.9 miles to even as long as 51.2 miles! So, if you are looking for a fantastic place to take in the sights of the desert, make sure you check out McDowell Sonoran Preserve!
Sunrise Trail Scenic View
There are times when we really do want a proper hike that maybe isn’t technically challenging, but will provide a great workout and gift you with views that will having you sitting there for hours, taking it all in. No place in the Scottsdale area is better for this than Sunrise Trail Scenic View! This 4.9-mile point-to-point trail offers a moderate-difficult hike that has you climbing to the top of a canyon whose summit provides panoramic views of all four wilderness peaks in the area as well as local natural landmarks including the Superstition Wilderness, Fountain Hills, South Mountain, Camelback, and the nearby McDowell Mountain range! It comes as no surprise that so many people flock to this trail every year, and many rave about the views to each other and online, especially considering the hike itself is quite enjoyable and fun, with the worst of the climbing being towards the end when you near the top. However, no matter if you go all the way to the peak, or just go partway and make it into a slightly more intense nature walk, you will be sure to be dazzled by the views from Sunrise Trail!
Standing at an elevation of 2,704 feet, Camelback Mountain towers above the city like some massive guardian looking out for the town and those who call it home. However, despite its towering appearance, the trip to the top isn’t overly long at around 2.5 miles. Though short, this trail is considered by even the most experienced to be rather challenging, as both trails are highly technical and involve rock scrambling and bouldering. You’ll have your choice between the Cholla and Echo Canyon Trails, both of which offer their own unique challenges and draws. No matter which you choose, once you reach the summit, you will be greeted with a breathtaking view of the surrounding city with its homes, cars, and buildings looking like a child’s playset from so high above. As well, outside the concrete jungle you’ll better be able to see the rustic wilderness that hugs its borders. Just remember to keep in mind that these are two of the more challenging and difficult trails in the area, and hundreds of hikers are rescued from heat stroke every year, so make sure to bring plenty of water and either do the trail early in the morning or at dusk when it’s cooler. However, don’t let the difficulty intimidate you too much, as the views you’ll be gifted to from the top are sure to make the strenuous journey more than worth it!
Tonto National Forest
One thing that Arizona is most well known for, other then the excessive heat and desert landscapes, is its national parks. Besides the world-renowned Grand Canyon National Park, you can plan a visit to Tonto National Forest. This National Forest stretches out over an astounding 2.9 million acres, making it the largest national forest in Arizona and the seventh largest in the country! As well, nowhere else will you quite find the same breathtakingly unique scenery as you can at Tonto. Here, and only here, will you truly see the magic the desert holds and why even before A/C people were willing to battle the heat for the chance to live here. You will see some of the most rugged landscapes possible as the desert stretches into the distance, with animals using the jagged rocks and scattered plants for their playground. As well, you will find the National Forest ending at the Mogollon Rim, which is an equally vast pine forest. You wouldn’t expect it, but as you explore this vast wilderness, you will see everything from basic racoons to black bears, bald eagles, road runners and lakes and streams. Not only this, but while visiting you will have your choice of over 220 different hiking trails, 137 of those being moderate level and ranging from a nice stroll at 0.7 miles to multi-day backpacking trips of 91.8 miles! It truly comes as no surprise that so many people flock to the area, especially to see this beautiful area. So, why not see for yourself by exploring the Tonto National Forest?
If you find yourself reading about any of places to find the best Scottsdale views and feeling a burning desire beginning to grow within you, make sure you give Scottsdale Rentals a call today at (844) 948-1273 or book your stay online today!
Many of the spots mentioned involve hiking of some level. For this reason, we want to remind you of the extreme heat experienced in Scottsdale, Arizona and highly urge you not to underestimate it. During certain parts of the year, it can easily reach 100 degrees before 6:00AM. Always remember to drink/bring plenty of water and keep an eye on the temperature forecast when planning your stay. Finally, always remember to keep your limits in mind and don’t push past them, there is no shame in turning back early or choosing a different activity for the day.