Things To Do In Arizona: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Above: McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Photo: Flickr, Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale Experience Arizona | 1 Jun, 2012 |

Hiking Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Beauty in your own backyard

Looking to spend the day amid the desert beauty? Or simply for some fresh air and exercise without venturing too far? Look no further than the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale.

Stretching across 17,000 acres of the McDowell Mountains, the preserve offers miles of hiking trails to be explored on foot, bicycle or horseback. Trails range from easy to strenuous and with several trailheads scattered across the preserve, chances are, if you live in Scottsdale, an entrance is no more than a few minutes’ drive away.

As you arrive at the base of one of your trails, it is truly awe-inspiring to look up and have your entire range of view filled by the many peaks and valleys of the impressive mountain range. The experience becomes no less impressive as you make your way into the heart of the mountains.

Unique and picturesque geology and plant life abound on each trail, and you’re likely to encounter all sorts of wildlife on your hike. Bring the dog along and treat Fido to a walk full of all the sights (and smells!) of the Sonoran Desert.

The layout of the various interconnected trails makes it easy to plan a quick loop back to your car, or to extend your hike from trail to trail as far as your feet care to take you.

Reaching altitudes of over 4,000 feet, there will be no shortage of breathtaking, scenic views on your hike, so be sure to bring a camera! The Taliesin Overlook on Lost Dog Wash trail is the perfect place to snap a panoramic shot of the East Valley.

With summer very much upon us, plan to hit the trails early to avoid triple-digit temperatures. As with any outdoor activity here in the Valley of the Sun, remember to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and wear appropriate clothing to protect from damaging solar rays.

Above all, to make the most of your experience, keep your eyes and ears open as you pass through. From flora, to fauna, to scenic photo-ops, there’s a lot to appreciate about the magnificent McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For more information about the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, visit

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