McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale

#1 of 11 in Wildlife in Scottsdale
Nature / Park · Hidden Gem · Wildlife Area
McDowell Sonoran Preserve spans 12,150 hectares (30,000 acres) of protected desert terrain, with over 190 km (120 mi) of multi-use trails. Five trailheads offering hikes of varying difficulty and length will take you through different regions of the park. Explore the trails by foot, by bike, or on horseback, and you'll see cacti forests, wildlife, and mountain ranges. This huge preserve is geologically diverse, made up of a mixture of 1.7 billion-year-old metamorphic rocks, granite, and volcanic deposits. The preserve provides a safe home to desert plants and animals near an urban environment and connects to Tonto National Forest and McDowell Mountain Regional Park, creating a continuous wildlife corridor. Use our Scottsdale vacation website to add McDowell Sonoran Preserve and other attractions to your Scottsdale vacation plans.
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McDowell Sonoran Preserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
1,114 reviews
  • We loved hiking the different trails at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve while visiting Scottsdale. Granite Mountain was a pleasant hike around the mountain - not very strenuous and great views of the.....  more »
  • LOTS of trails to choose from. The stewards at the trailhead (as well as patrolling!) are all volunteers so be sure to thank them for all they do. There are all types of hiking - nature trails for.....  more »
  • A multitude of hikes and nice biking. I can’t remember the names of the different trails but some of them were straight back from the main starting place and one was off to the left which I enjoyed...  more »
  • Very convenient trailhead for Scottsdale with lots of parking, bathrooms and water. Multiple loops possible for any fitness level. There is even a half mile smooth path that is wheelchair accessible. Great place to bring kids too, lots of info placards on the short loop to make it fun and educational for them. We did a sunrise hike and the sun coming up over the mountains was beautiful. Sunset is pretty as well, with the mountains glowing purple.
  • #justhike
  • This is a very well maintained trail. At the beginning it has a bathroom right next to a large parking lot. There is a very short trail that our 4 year old liked, as well as trails that go on for miles. You can run these trails as well. Ery beautiful scenery to hike or just stop for some pictures. If you are visiting and want a place to hike long distances, run, or just see the mountain range, than this is the place to go.
  • Beautiful hiking with tons of parking, easy to understand maps with directions, lots of options!
  • Easy flat and groomed trails for about the first 200 yards, after that... It becomes more challenging. Beautiful views, nice hiking. Be aware the trails are mostly rugged rock.

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