I love hiking – I love the nature, the challenge, the quiet, the exercise, the views, the meditative quality that takes over – and hiking near Scottsdale is magical.
The first time I had the opportunity to go hiking was in my early 20’s; until then I had lived in the Prairies where the land is flat, the sky is large, the fields of grain are expansive, and the trees are few and far between. “Hiking” was not a word of my youth; when the land is completely flat, hiking is just called walking.
Hiking is addictive; I’ve hiked Northern Thailand, the Adirondacks, Gatineau Park near Ottawa, the Rockies, the Sierra National Forest and a host of other places scattered across North America – all day hikes, and all well-forested destinations. Hiking in and near Scottsdale provides a completely different type of hiking – it’s still challenging and serene, however the geography is like nothing I’d ever experienced – the rock, the red earth, the wildlife, the giant Saguaro cactus, all beneath an enormous blue sky – it all makes my hiking heart happy.
Arizona’s mountainous Sonoran Desert is majestic, with beauty, breathtaking views, and a wide variety of plant and wildlife – a giant Saguaro cactus is a sight to behold. There are day hikes for every level of hiker in and around Scottsdale; Camelback Mountain is right in Scottsdale and is a challenging climb that is a must-do for visitors. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve offers multiple routes, with Gateway Trail Loop for an easier hike, and a personal favourite Tom’s Thumb, with a section of steep inclines and switchbacks, flat sections, giant boulders and a breathtaking view from the top (I’ve done this hike so often I even have a favourite switchback corner). A more recent hike that I look forward to doing again soon is Pinnacle Peak Park. Pinnacle Peak is a relatively short trail but has difficult sections and beautiful views and is perfect for trail running if you want to add some extra challenge.
To fully appreciate the hiking that Scottsdale has to offer, plan your hikes, pack your supplies the night before and ensure you’re at the trailhead early. Make sure you bring a lot of water – the air is dry and the sun is hot so bring more than you think you’ll need. Along with water, pack a hat, sunscreen, chapstick, snacks, bandaids and your phone (there are some serious Instagram moments you will want to capture). The area has so many hikes to discover – Experience Scottsdale offers a hiking guide you can download. If you haven’t yet experienced hiking in Arizona then you should plan your trip soon – I promise you’ll be delighted.
Desert Canuck House luxury Airbnb is a 5 minute drive to Camelback Mountain (with a view of the Mountain from the front balcony). Staying in this luxury vacation home in Old Town gives you a central location for easy access to hiking, all the space, comfort and amenities you’ll want, and a quick walk or scooter ride to your evening activities