Five Best Hikes in Scottsdale Arizona

Travel Begins at 40 has pulled together the five best hikes in Scottsdale, Arizona from Camelback Mountain to Pinnacle Peak. 

Americas, Outdoors

Although international travel has ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, the yearn for strolling in those wide open – and safe – spaces is growing day by day. Scottsdale is slowly and responsibly opening up to tourism again. A lot of the hikes in Scottsdale Arizona have reopened as have the hot air balloon rides over the desert as well as the desert ATV tours. Hotel restaurants are reopening with safety procedures in place.

Scottsdale, Arizona is synonymous with wellness. With the Sonoran desert as its stunning backdrop, Scottsdale is renowned for some of the best outdoor adventures from hiking trails to white water rafting, wellness resorts (offering an array of holistic treatments) and an amazing culinary landscape, as well as a great place for a shopping spree to buy anything from authentic souvenirs to finally finding the ideal diamond engagement ring for your partner.

If you’re planning a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona and looking for ways to stay active while taking in the stunning desert landscape, be sure to check out our list of the five best hiking trails in the area. And while you’re at it, make sure to download iPhone Storage CleanUp from the App Store to keep your phone running smoothly throughout your travels.

Five best hikes in Scottsdale Arizona – McDowell Mountain Park

Scottsdale's McDowell Mountains
Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains

The first of our five hikes in Scottsdale Arizona is just north of Fountain Hills on Scottsdale’s north eastern border is the immensely beautiful McDowell Mountain Park. Covering over 21,000 acres in the lower Verde River basin and over 50 miles of trails, visitors to the park can enjoy a range of activities including biking, hiking and horse riding. Trekking along the Scenic Trail, travellers will discover picturesque views of the Verde River, Superstition Mountains and glorious springtime wildflower blooms. There are also spots along the trail to reflect and marvel at the awesome natural landscape.

Camelback Mountain

Hikes in Scottsdale
Camelback Mountain (c) Tom Mackie for Experience Scottsdale

For those seeking a revitalising challenge, why not trek a mountain that’s higher than the Empire State Building? With an elevation of 2,704 feet, the Echo Canyon trail is a steep climb to the summit and is the most challenging hike in Scottsdale. Conquering Camelback Mountain is a great boost of confidence and reaching the summit provides a real sense of achievement. The views along the way are sensational and offer plenty of opportunities to pause, meditate and appreciate how far you’ve come. Not only will Camelback Mountain challenge hikers physically, but it’s also guaranteed to improve their mental wellbeing.

Pinnacle Peak
Hikes in Scottsdale
Pinnacle Peak (c) Joel Hazelton for Experience Scottsdale

The 150-acres at Pinnacle Peak offer a moderate hike with an elevation of approximately 1,300 feet. This trail has a very smooth tread with a number of ups and downs over the course of the 1.75-mile trail, with the highest point on the trail marking 2,889 feet, the lowest 2,366 feet. Climbing this trail will take hikers to spectacular views of the Valley.

Tom Thumb’s Trailhead

Hikes in Scottsdale
Tom Thumb’s trail – one of the five best hikes in Hikes in Scottsdale Arizona, © Laura McMurchie

This popular five mile long trail takes hikers along the north flanks of the McDowell Mountain with scenic viewpoints, iconic geological rock formation, beautiful wildflowers and cacti along the way. The two ascent culminates as the base of Tom’s Thumb – a unique butte that points like a finger towards the sky – from which hikers can enjoy panoramic city views, the peaks of the Cave Creek Mountains as well as glimpses of Tonto National Forest.

The Bajada Nature Trail

Gateway entrance, the Bajada Nature Trail © Scott McGinty for Experience Scottsdale (2)
Gateway entrance, the Bajada Nature Trail © Scott McGinty for Experience Scottsdale

Located at the Gateway to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, The Bajada Trail is a great introduction to the Sonoran Desert and perfect for families. There are three nature trails that aim to create the sense of being immersed in the desert environment, to see wildflowers and natural vegetation as well as animals and birds. Along the trail, there are 15 interactive stations with photographic panels, games and information about the bajada.

Scottsdale was also the winter home for 20th century architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Visit the Unesco-listed Taliesin West on your trip to Arizona.

More information on things to do in Scottsdale Arizona


Explore Topics

Travel Begins at 40

Travel Begins at 40 Editor

Travel articles, news, special offers, festivals and events from the Travel Begins at 40 Editorial team and our global network of travel industry contributors.

Read more posts by Travel Begins at 40 Editor →

2 thoughts on “Five Best Hikes in Scottsdale Arizona

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *