BEST HIKES IN SCOTTSDALE: 10 Best Hiking Trails 2023

Best hikes in Scottsdale

There are many amazing hikes in Scottsdale to explore, each with its own unique scenery and challenges. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike to enjoy a sunny day or a more challenging trek to get your heart pumping, Scottsdale has something for everyone. So get out there and hit the trail! And if you need help finding the perfect hike for you, be sure to check out our list of the best hikes in Scottsdale.

List of the Best Hikes in Scottsdale

Below is a list of the best hikes in Scottsdale

#1. Camelback Mountain

Image source: TripAdvisor

This red sandstone and granite mountain’s kneeling camel shape is the city’s most recognizable landmark and a difficult, must-climb destination for hikers. Besides, there are two summit trails that lead to the peak: the less-traveled Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail, which both begin near the “camel’s head” (you can even see an eyelash). This is a challenging hike that ends impressively at 2,704 feet above sea level. The terrain is steep, rocky, and has some slick parts.

#2. Tom’s Thumb Trail

Image source: The Outbound

Within the 30,000-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Tom’s Thumb Trail is one of them, and it also happens to be a popular hiking trail. The trail is only four miles long, but it is steep and has several switchbacks. On this arduous, shadeless hike, the views of the southern McDowell Mountains and Phoenix are well worth the effort, but you’ll need to pack lots of water and sun protection.

#3. Papago Park

Image source: TripAdvisor

This circular, red-hued butte is a well-known landmark in Phoenix, but the true reward is found after a quick ascent of the sandstone outcrop. Ancient Native Americans valued the mountain’s distinctive “holes,” which were created by water erosion over millions of years. In particular, Hole-in-the-Rock is a natural structure through which you can view the city.

#4. Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail

Image source: AZ Utopia

Ready for a light workout? This hidden gem in North Scottsdale is a wise pick. You can also enjoy magnificent views of the Valley from the summit, which is reached by a broad, pleasant trail. Keep your camera close by since you might encounter Gamble’s quail, jackrabbits, cactus wrens, and road runners while trekking. With a rise of almost 1,300 feet in height, the roundtrip distance is 3.5 miles.

#5. Lost Dog Trail

Image source: Parsons Villas

Lost Dog Wash, a former jeep tour route, ascends a low ridge into the McDowell Mountains. Moreover, this well-known hiking trail in Scottsdale offers breathtaking views of the nearby attractions, including Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright and other mountains including Camelback and Pinnacle Peak. Although the trail’s elevation rise is only around 380 feet, its out-and-back distance of slightly over 5 miles makes it a manageable challenge.

#6. Gateway Loop Trail

Image source: Modern Hiker

There are more than 200 miles of trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. But the Gateway Loop Trail is one of the most notable and well-known. Additionally, this 4.4-mile, moderately tough circle is filled with spring wildflowers. Also, if you want to avoid the crowds (and the heat), schedule your trip for early in the morning or late in the day.

#7. Go John Trail

Image source: The Outbound

The 2,922-acre Cave Creek Regional Park, located in the hamlet of Cave Creek just to the north of Phoenix, is the site of the Go John Trail. Similarly, long switchbacks pass by massive saguaro cacti and desert trees near the beginning of the 5.9-mile loop. You’ll also be rewarded with vistas of Phoenix’s downtown and the Hieroglyphic Mountains about a mile in. Although the trail is open all year round, the spring, when the desert’s wildflowers begin to bloom, is unmatched.

#8. Scenic Trail

Image source: Adventure Sports

The Scenic Trail, which is close to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, attracts families because it offers a diversity of landscapes without requiring too much elevation increase. Take in the views of the Verde River, the Superstition Mountains, and the springtime blossoms of the wildflowers. You will travel about 7 miles if you walk the entire trail in both directions.

#9. Bajada Nature Trail

Image source: National Park Service

For families with small children and anyone with mobility issues, in particular, this wide, picturesque trail is a perfect start to hiking in the Sonoran Desert. In addition, this half-mile loop, one of Scottsdale’s simpler walks, has stunning vistas of McDowell Mountain, little elevation rise, and a hard, flat surface appropriate for wheelchairs and strollers. Besides, along the walk, interpretive signage highlights Sonoran Desert flora, fauna, geology, and geography.

#10. Piestewa Peak

Image source: Hiking Project

Among Phoenicians, this is without a doubt one of the most well-liked trekking locations. Moreover, the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is a short, fairly challenging hike that rewards hikers with city vistas, up-close encounters with lizards, jackrabbits, palo verde and mesquite trees, and many types of cacti. In the evenings and after dark, it’s also not unusual to see night walkers using their flashlights.

What Is the Most Difficult Hike in Phoenix?

Siphon Draw-Flat Iron (Superstitions)

Outside of the Superstition Ridgeline, Flat Iron is the most difficult day hike around Phoenix. Besides, the best day hike in the Superstitions starts from the Siphon Draw Trailhead on an obvious trail.

What Is the Toughest Hike in the U.S.?

The 7 Hardest Hikes in the US, Ranked by Difficulty

  • The Maze
  • South Kaibab Trail/Bright Angel Trail
  • Kalalau Trail
  • Mist Trail – Half Dome
  • Muir Snowfield Trail
  • Huckleberry Mountain
  • Barr Trail

What Is the Most Famous Hike in the World?

The world’s best hiking trails

  • Pennine Way, United Kingdom.
  • Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
  • Appalachian Trail, United States.
  • The Basho Wayfarer, Japan.
  • Refugio Frey and Cerro Catedral, Argentina
  • Mount Toubkal, Morocco
  • Great Wall of China, Jinshanling section
  • Dragon’s Back, Hong Kong.

What Is the Deadliest Hike in the World?

HuaShan, China

This epic trail to the South Peak of HuaShan, one of China’s Five Great Mountains, is often billed as the most dangerous hike in the world, and for good reason.


We sincerely hope you liked reading about the best hikes in Scottsdale. You’re likely to find the ideal hike for your needs from the various selections available. Undoubtedly, Scottsdale offers a variety of hiking opportunities, from strenuous trails to casual strolls. So venture out and discover everything that this wonderful city has to offer!

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FAQs About the Best Hikes in Scottsdale

Is pinnacle peak trail hard?

Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 30 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and walking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. In addition, the best times to visit this trail are May through October.

What is the best hike in Garden of the Gods?

Top 5 Garden Of The Gods Hikes

  • Siamese Twin Trail.
  • Perkins Central Garden Trail.
  • The Ridge Trail.
  • Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Hiking Trail.
  • Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail.

What happened at Papago park?

An investigation is underway after 2 bodies were found in the Papago Park area. Officials say one of the dead bodies was found next to a trail, while the other dead body was found in a body of water.