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5 Great Scottsdale Hiking Trails

By local contributor
Katarina Kovacevic

With more than 400 miles of well-maintained trails in the area, it’s no wonder Scottsdale was once named by National Geographic as one of the nation’s top 15 hiking destinations. If you’re planning a hiking excursion in Scottsdale, here are five great trails to consider:


Gateway Loop Trail – Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve


If peace and solitude are what you seek, the Gateway Loop Trail is ideal because it’s away from the city bustle. The 4.5-mile trail only gains 680 feet in elevation so it’s a nice leisurely walk through the desert that loops around to your starting point.


Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail – Pinnacle Peak Park


If you’re game for a moderate workout, this north Scottsdale gem is a great choice. A wide, smooth trail leads you to the summit where you’ll enjoy expansive views of the Valley. Keep your camera handy, as your hiking companions are likely to include Gamble’s quail, jackrabbits, cactus wrens and road runners. The roundtrip distances is 3.5 miles, with an elevation gain of approximately 1,300 feet.


Lost Dog Wash – Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve


An old jeep tour route, Lost Dog Wash climbs a low ridge into the McDowell Mountains. This popular trail affords spectacular views of surrounding landmarks like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West as well as other mountains like Camelback and Pinnacle Peak. The trail only gains about 380 feet in elevation, but its out-and-back length of just over 5 miles makes it a moderate undertaking.


Go John Trail – Cave Creek Regional Park


Want to see a desert tortoise? You just might along the 6-mile Go John Trail, which loops around jasper-studded hills. It’s moderate with a few bursts of difficulty and features views of nearby Spur Cross Ranch. In the spring, Go John has blooming wildflowers.


Scenic Trail – McDowell Mountain Regional Park


Located near the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Scenic Trail is good for families because it has a wide variety of scenery without too much elevation gain. Enjoy the sights of the Verde River and Superstition Mountains as well as springtime wildflower blooms. If you walk the full trail out and back and you’ll cover nearly 7 miles.

Get ready for your hike by downloading a free copy of Scottsdale’s Hiking and Trail Guide and checking out our helpful safety tips.