The Phoenix area is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the United States. Hundreds of miles of local trails offer opportunities for outdoor fun for hikers of every age and ability level, and some of the best are just a short drive from Aderra.
The Top Spots
Piestewa Peak/Dreamy Draw
The Phoenix Mountains Recreation Area and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area surround the base of Piestewa Peak, about 9 miles from Aderra. You will find several excellent options for hiking and picnicking in the park’s trails and valleys.
The Piestewa Peak Summit trail is one of the nation’s most heavily used hiking trails, attracting between 4,000-10,000 hikers per week. The trail is rated as very difficult and strenuous, but experienced hikers love to work up a sweat and enjoy the view here. Several other trails with ratings ranging from easy to moderate to difficult are also available. The trailhead features paved parking, drinking water, and restrooms.
Dreamy Draw Nature Trail offers a gentler pace for the broadest accessibility. Its 1.5-mile path is rated easy to moderate, and includes a 1-mile children’s loop for families with young hikers to enjoy. It has a large parking lot, drinking water, and restrooms.
North Mountain/Shaw Butte
Another park that offers a variety of hiking experiences is North Mountain Park, just 7 miles from Aderra. The main attractions are North Mountain and Shaw Butte, which are 2,104 feet and 2,149 feet in elevation, respectively. Hikers have several options of varying difficulty for trails to ascend the peaks.
The park also features the Penny Howe Barrier-Free Nature Trail, which is accessible to all visitors. The trail is 0.3 miles long, fully paved with a gentle slope, and offers beautiful views of the desert terrain, flora, and fauna. It also features a fully paved parking lot, convenient access to water, shade, picnic areas, and restroom facilities.
Lost Dog Wash
About 10 miles east of Aderra is Lost Dog Wash, a popular trail that boasts breathtaking views of local landmarks like Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak, and gives hikers access to several other trails. Ringtail Trail includes a path to Lost Dog Overlook, and Sunrise Trail leads to Sunrise Peak. Taliesen Overlook gives visitors a view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West architecture school.
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Pathfinders are onsite at Lost Dog Wash Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. They are there to provide information about the trails and help you make the most of your visit.
Located 11 miles from Aderra, Phoenix’s Papago Park features four easy hiking trails. The most popular is the short, easily accessible trail leading to Hole-in the-Rock, a distinctive natural formation through which visitors can get a terrific view of downtown Phoenix and the surrounding area below.
If you are an experienced hiker who’s feeling adventurous, consider a visit to Camelback Mountain, one of the area’s best-known hiking spots. Just 7 miles from Aderra, the Echo Canyon and Cholla summit trails offer panoramic views of the surrounding area during challenging, strenuous climbs. The trail to Bobbie’s Rock, a popular climbing spot, is an easier walk of about half a mile one-way.
However, Camelback’s appeal to the audacious means it is extremely busy and crowded, particularly during the winter and spring, and parking is limited. Check out the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department’s helpful guide to Camelback Mountain’s trails when planning your visit.
Know Before You Go
You can hike year-round in the Scottsdale area, but be sure to take special precautions for heat safety in the summer months. Hiking trails can vary greatly in their level of difficulty, accessibility, and the amenities available onsite, so it’s a good idea to look up the details for a given trail online before you visit so you will be prepared. Are the trails too difficult – or not challenging enough? Is water available? Are dogs allowed? For maximum safety and enjoyment on Scottsdale’s many wonderful hiking trails, it’s important to know before you go.
Do you have a favorite hiking spot in the Scottsdale area? Tell us about it in the comments below.