Take a Hike

Spring Hiking Offers Fresh Air and Desert Blooms

Spring is Arizona's best hiking season. Wildflowers blanket the desert floor, cacti bloom, and birds chirp greetings. Mornings offer glorious sunrises, while evening hikes dazzle with brilliant shades of red, orange, and purple. Within just a few minutes of anywhere in Scottsdale, you can find a hike ideal for any skill level.

1. Sunrise Trailhead, McDowell-Sonoran Preserve. Park at the Sunrise Trailhead on 145th Street and head into the canyon and up Sunrise Peak. The 3.6-mile loop offers views of Four Peaks and the Superstitions in one direction, with Camelback and South Mountain in the other. The moderate trail is great for hiking and mountain biking. Dogs are allowed if on a leash.

2. 40th Street Trailhead, Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The trailhead on 40th Street south of Shea Boulevard offers parking and restrooms. The moderate 5-mile loop on Two Bits and Rattle Saddle trails takes you to both Two Bits and Dixie peaks. Palo Verde trees along the way offer shade. This walking trail is a bit rocky.

3. Spear S Ranch Trailhead. The trailhead has parking at 32nd Street in Cave Creek. There are several trails from the parking area, but head west on the Maricopa Trail for lighter traffic. The 3.8-mile loop is rocky, and ideal for moderate hikers. Dogs are welcome if on a leash. Ideal for January to June hiking.

4. Wagner-Granite-Bluff Trails, McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Access this 5-mile loop off of Fountain Hills Boulevard. This dog-friendly, relatively flat hike is great for spotting wildflowers in spring. The well-maintained trail is filled with small wildlife, and there are restrooms at the trailhead.

5. Brown's Ranch Trailhead, McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The trailhead, popular with mountain bikers, offers parking, restrooms, shade, and water. Families might try the 2-mile Brown's Ranch Short Loop. The hard-pack, half-mile Jane Rau Interpretive Trail meets accessibility standards.

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