Explore Short day - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Short day Map
22 hours ago

We walked the loop at this stop and enjoyed all of the amazing formations.

23 hours ago

To get to the trailhead you have to drive about 7 miles on a dusty gravel road. There is a unorganized parking lot and another over flow one a little bit down the road. We parked in the second one and walked back on the road. There are no signs for the Wave Cave Trail. So we just asked someone before starting. The beginning of the trail is hard to see where the actual trail is. The end of the trail is defiantly the most difficult. You will need both hands and feet. There are some spots with loose gravel on top or rock. I would consider taking traction covers for my shoes next time. Once we got to the top there were like 10 kids running around creating tons of dust! We did not even want to pull the camera out because of the dust. Eventually they left and we were able to get some good pictures. On the way down nearly all the kids were crying or complaining. Not a hike for kids.

Wow! Well worth the effort to get up to the Wave!

First hike ever and it was great. Had plenty of water and took multiple breaks. We completed this with three kids the youngest being 5.

Great hike today. Not overly crowded. started right at 5pm. perfect weather and great view!

Great day hike!
Go on a week day to avoid the masses

Nice easy, sandy trail with no steep embankments. Mostly flat with a tiny incline in places. Pretty cactus - no wildflowers this year. Well marked.

really nice hike! People on here said to took about 2 hours but i finished it and the connector in 1hr and 20min. But, that is just because i am a trail runner so it was not long. Only had very minimal periodical stops. Overall, nice hike. I'm more for difficulty but, this hike is beautiful non-the same. You'll enjoy it! It is worth the drive. And it is free no fee to hike it (the best pat lol)

great trail. a little hard for 1st timers to find the "right" trail but once there it's a fun and exhausting climb. well worth the effort up.

Extreme in every sense of the word. They label this hike not as difficult, but extremely difficult on the trail sign which is accurate. Harder technically than the grand canyon (I've hiked from the rim to the river and back in a day), but this hike is much shorter which makes it not as exhausting. I brought hiking poles and couldn't use them on multiple sections because it is so vertical that you must climb. They did help a ton though when I could use them, especially on the way down. I started this hike at 4pm with the weather clear and in the 70's, and it took me 45 minutes to get up, and over an hour and 15 minutes to get down. Going down was much harder and I did fall a few times (one major wipe out), because it is so much harder going down a nearly vertical trail. I was wearing very good hiking specific shoes (Altra trail shoes) , had a 2L water backpack, and hiking poles, along with a lot of hiking experience, and this kicked my butt. I was not expecting something so extremely difficult in the middle of Phoenix. Do not attempt this hike if you are unprepared, or if it is extremely hot outside. Parking was not an issue at the time I went, and there were 3 rangers at he bottom of the trail prepared to answer questions and help out.

It’s was a good hike but super crowded, even on a week day. No one wants to wait in line while bouldering. Other than that, great views at the top!

I did this hike clockwise and felt as though it was okay but I wish I hadn't brought my dogs. I went on a weekend and it was really crowded throughout the entirety of the hike. There were a people without leashes on their dogs that ran up to mine along with a few other owners that walked directly toward my pups even though I was clearly moving away to the side. My dogs aren't aggressive but one of them gets very nervous with other dogs so I like to keep them separated. I almost never have any issues like this and its possible that this was a one off situation but it really distracted me from enjoying the hike. The trail starts with an incline that gets the blood pumping and then the last half is a nice descend with some steep parts. The views were quite average in comparison to other nearby trails. The entire hike took me less than 2 hours going at a leisurely pace. The trailhead was easy to get to and had a large parking lot.

Really cool canyon with petroglyphs.

A beautiful and magical hike when there's several feet of snow and even more falling. Nothing too strenuous, but it's not noted that you have to park right of the highway and hike roughly an additional .5 mile to get to the trailhead. The snow was hard packed enough that hiking boots were sufficient, though many people had snowshoes. The little climb to get to the cave where the falls are was a bit slick without any kind of spikes, but still doable.

2 days ago

Fun little moderate trail up into the McDowell mountains, lots of great cacti to see up close, gorgeous views back into Scottsdale.

This trail is definitely challenging for new hikers and an overall awesome workout. When I lived closer, I used to hike this every morning during sunrise because the views were so beautiful as you ascend the mountain. I can typically finish the entire hike in about 1.5 hours or less going at a consistent walking pace. The last part of the hike (past where the emergency helicopters would be able to land) involves some scrambling and it can be easy to get lost if you are unsure of where to go. Be sure to look at the rocks for the navigational markings and pay attention to signs. Also, I see a ton of people attempt this hike with just a single water bottle but I definitely recommend bringing at least 1-2 liters depending upon the time of year you go. There is no parking lot and you instead parrallel park on the main road a little ways from the trailhead. It is easy to spot where you need to park though because there are some signs on the road that signal you where to go.

I love this trail and try to go with my dogs at least once a week. It goes back and forth between slightly steep inclines and level ground. For an inexperienced hiker, you may need to take a few breaks before reaching the top but it is definitely worth it. I usually am able to finish the entire hike in about 45-60 minutes if I am not rushing but going at a steady pace. I also will usually end right before the loop because its mostly flat and I don't feel as though it adds too much to my overall workout. With that being said, its definitely worth doing the loop at least once because there are a few cool rock formations to see. If you decide to complete the loop I recommend paying attention as its not incredibly well marked.

Difficult but so great

For reference we got there at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday and there were only a few parking spots left. Loved the hike despite the large crowd.

We did this today, but via National Trail at Buena Vista Lot, and it was great. Made it to Fat Man’s pass and turned around.

3 days ago

The hike is steep in certain parts, especially towards the top. It's pretty gravelly/rocky; wear hiking boots if you have them and it will help on the way down. The cave had an awesome view!

Fun hike! Get there early if going on the weekend because it gets busy.

What a great way to spend my morning! The hike part was very nice. The last part before you make it to the cave is a little challenging but very do able. If ever need a morning to see this beautiful desert we live in ... the view from the cave was way worth the hike! Pack snacks and make sure to have water.

Great hike! It definitely will get your heart pumping.

We really liked this trail. It's pretty easy like the description states. It was really informative - I loved reading about the slide. Went on weekday later afternoon and we had the place to ourselves. Really nice views with some big neat rocks. Trail is well defined, well marked and pretty wide. Dogs loved it. Good for their paws, just watch for cholla. Really happy we chose to slow down for the night and give it a go!

Challenging and beautiful. Harder coming down. Witnessed a rescue here today. So, watch your footing, and bring lots of water. We brought over a gallon and could have used more between two.

I always enjoy this hike. Great when flowers in bloom. Nice rock formations

Nice easy trail, to many bikers!

amazing hike.

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