7 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Scottsdale, Arizona

hiking in scottsdale
Richard Dean
Richard Dean 

In the eastern part of Arizona, Phoenix, you will find the beautiful desert city of Scottsdale. If you are interested in recreational activities, Scottsdale offers plenty of golf courses and spa resorts. Going North, you will find another gem of the city, McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It boasts beautiful hiking trails, ranging in levels of difficulty. Listed as “one of the nation’s top 15 hiking destinations” by National Geographic, hikers can be guaranteed magnificent views accompanying them throughout, and rewarding them after an exhausting journey. Looking for adventure? It’s now time to connect with nature. Check out our list of the best hiking and trekking spots in Scottsdale, Arizona.

1. Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead
Source: Pexels

If you are looking for an easy hiking adventure in Scottsdale, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead has easier and shorter trails, unlike others. It is suitable for family hiking with a dog, as the trail is well maintained making it safe for kids. As you journey, the wildlife viewing will excite you and your kids. At the top, spectacular views of Pinnacle Peak, Squaw Peak, and Camelback are waiting. This trailhead offers parking, shades, and water.

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

Address: 12601 N 124th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, United States

Website: Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

Opening hours: 5am - 10pm (daily)

2. Pinnacle Peak Park Trail

Pinnacle Peak
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SolYoun used under CC BY 2.0

Another interesting spot for a family hike is Pinnacle Peak Park Trail. It features an easy trail that is suitable for kids. It has plenty of spots with a lovely setting, which is good for some photo op. With an elevation of 396 km (1,300 ft) and about 6.63 km (3.6 mi), Pinnacle offers an amazing hiking experience in a picturesque setting. Pinnacle is a convenient trailhead that offers facilities for every hiker, from guides to displays, from drinking fountains to restrooms, from climbing spots to parking, from the picnic area to shades. This trail is popular, so expect many hikers who you will meet along the way.

Pinnacle Peak Park Trail

Address: 26802 N. 102nd Way Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Website: Pinnacle Peak Park Trail

3. Tom’s Thumb Trail

Tom Thumb Lagoon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gonzo Gooner used under CC BY 3.0

If you love a challenge, then try hiking via Tom’s Thumb Trail. This spectacular trail is one of the most popular routes in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It is about an 8.05-km (5-mi) long hike with a persistent but tolerable climb on the northern side of the McDowell Mountains. Several spots are steep, which makes it not very safe for young kids. Just like other hiking adventures, after an exhausting hike, the reward is worth it - wonderful and scenic views. The trailhead features well-maintained restrooms and enough space for parking. There is no water available though, so we recommend to bring one.

Tom’s Thumb Trail

Address: 23015 N 128th St, Scottsdale, AZ, United States

4. Gateway Loop Trail (from USD 82.0)

Situated in the northern part of the American desert, Sonoran Desert extends a big part of Arizona, California, and parts of northwestern Mexico. With an area averaging to 260,000 sq km (100,000 sq mi), there are certainly plenty of things to do and see in this desert. To make your life easier, this Sonoran Desert hiking tour has got you covered throughout. Hike through the rocky sections of the desert, while enjoying wildlife viewing. As you journey, you will learn everything you need to know about the desert. You don’t have to be a professional hiker to join this tour, the hikes are customized to cater to the needs of everyone.

Half-Day Sonoran Desert Hiking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

9 reviews

5. Echo Canyon Summit Trail

Head of Echo Canyon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user NPS Staff used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Looking for some extreme? Perhaps hiking Echo Canyon Summit Trail is what you are looking for. The hike is difficult, as there are several steep sections, so it’s not advisable for children and dogs. If you love photography, phenomenal views at Echo Canyon is a good subject. The Echo Canyon trail presents wildflowers, big rocks, and superb views. The hike is extreme, but the prize is worth it. You can also reach Camelback Mountain via this trail, which offers fantastic views of Phoenix’s metropolitan area.

Echo Canyon Summit Trail

Address: 4925 E McDonald Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018, United States

6. The Sunrise Trail East

Source: Photo by Flickr user Patrick Finnegan used under CC BY 2.0

Situated close to Fountain Hills, the Sunrise Trail East is another exciting adventure that you can experience in Scottsdale. It scores as moderate, which makes it suitable for dogs. The hike can take you about two hours, allowing you to see wildlife and the magnificent views of Four Peaks.

The Sunrise Trail East

Address: 12101 N 145th Way 1 Scottsdale, AZ 85259

7. Sears-Kay Ancient Ruins (from USD 75.0)

Situated within the boundary of Tonto National Forest, outside Carefree, Arizona, you will find these ancient remains from the Hohokam culture. Sear-Kay ruins served as a defensive fortification between 1050 and 1200 AD. It presents outstanding views of Pinnacle Peak, Superstition Mountains, and more, as it is wonderfully located atop a hill. The hike will take you about 2.57 km (1.6 mi) and this is not a strenuous climb. If you want to avoid hassles, book this amazing Sears-Kay Ancient Ruins hike with Sonoran Desert jeep tour. The knowledgeable guide will shed some light on the history of the ruins, plus you’ll have the chance to meet new hikers. Discover the historic Great Western Trail by taking the route of Camp Creek Wash.

Scottsdale Hiking Tour

Duration: 120 to 180 minutes

Wonderful hiking and trekking spots in Scottsdale

Scottsdale boasts McDowell Sonoran Preserve. With amazing wildlife and mountains, McDowell offers tons of hiking hubs. Blessed with natural beauty, you can always be guaranteed with rewarding panoramic views. Use our list above to plan your upcoming adventure in Scottsdale.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Richard holds a passion for biking. When not staring at bike parts or computers, he's probably at the market, searching for some ingredients for his next secret recipe--yes, he loves experimenting....Read more

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