Explore the most popular hiking trails in McDowell Sonoran Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice hike, easy and quiet.

I like this moderate trail, it's a loop and it takes me about two hours to complete it. sometimes it can be little crowded tho, specially on Sundays.

hiking
3 days ago

Would be brutal in full sun but a great hike inbetween monsoons!

Nice terrain and inclines. Amazing views, worth it for sunrise. Got there at 4:55 on a Saturday to 1 other cars. Full parking lot by the time we left

Easy trail that's basically flat. Nice trail if you just want to get in a quick hike and still have that feeling of being on a trail. Got a late start and this shares the trail with Gateway Loop so it was a little crowded initially with lots of loud chatter. However, once the trail split, I only encountered 4 other people and a dog along the way and was able to enjoy the birds chattering instead. :) I've done a few trails in the preserve and I think this preserve might be my favorite. There's a little something for everyone.

Quiet and relaxing.

hiking
12 days ago

My favorite hike so far. Very moderate steep incline for a while but after you get passed that it is easy. The views from the top are the best in Phoenix in my opinion. Very pretty, worth the hike for sure.

hiking
13 days ago

Rocky desert trail gives you good exercise

Awesome trail! I went at 6pm and saw a total of 5 people there and back. Great scenery in all directions!

hiking
16 days ago

Current alltrails map for the trailhead is wrong. Correct location to start of trail is at 28777 N Pima Rd, Intersection of Pima and Dynamite, Scottsdale, AZ 85266-9008.
Trail is pretty much all flat. Great for mountain bikers but not so much for hikers. The whole trail is underneath a powerline, not a scenic view which is why I gave it such a low rating. Went 3 miles and then turned around as it seemed to keep following the power lines in a straight line.

hiking
20 days ago

Good hike. Was pretty flat in the very beginning leading up to the incline then it gets pretty steep as the trail progresses. Cool view at the top of the 3,848 foot mountain including Scottsdale Airport and the greater Phoenix valley area (downtown and Camelback Mountain) to the southwest and the greater desert area to the north and northeast.

This is a good trail to do as soon as the preserve is open. You can hike up to the pass before the sun rises over the top. I was half way back when the sun hit me. It's a good workout with nice views on the pass.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful hike, great for families. Bring water!!

hiking
1 month ago

First time walking this trail and I loved it. A leg workout for sure, first part is a little tough but gets easier up top. This is a huge hiking area so I did not have too much time to explore side trails as much I would love too. Definitely returning and exploring more. Highly recommend this trail! Bring plenty of water! I was almost out walking down the hill.

Took us 1 hour up, 50 minutes down. The trail is easy to follow. This is a leg workout! Great views at the top and along the way. We started the trail at 6 am and the temperature was perfect. You do get some shade in the middle of the hike too, at the hour we went.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike beautiful scenery, moderate trail condition

hiking
1 month ago

First of all, I’d definitely recommend doing the hike. Very clearly marked. Well maintained. Beautiful view — I did mine at sunset and it was amazing.

My watch registered this hike at just a shy under 5 miles. And, it was a tad harder than I had anticipated it would be.

The first .25 miles are nothing but a walk through the desert. The next .75-1 mile was essentially straight incline - you think you’re done a bunch of times. Tons of switch backs. Very little relief. The last .75 was a mixture of ups and downs but since you can see your destination it’s not bad at all.

I’d strongly suggest not going in the heat of the sun.

Great trail. Moderately hard. Longer than 3.6 miles. Both people in my party clocked it at 4.6 miles round trip. Steep the last part to the peak. Would love to do this trail again. Highly recommend, nice views.

Beautiful hike and very well marked and maintained trail

Great trail. Mostly flat. Great for all ages.

This is one of my all time favorite hikes. It’s beautiful and the views are amazing.

Very scenic; starts out with a lot of uphill then gets easier. No bug issues May 24

hiking
1 month ago

Always a good hike.

Great hike to start with to open up the lungs to prepare for more difficult hikes (if you’re visiting). Nice elevation gain;more of a steep incline toward the top to reach the summit. I would consider this a pretty rugged trail to run on.. It was challenging in a good way, moderate is an accurate description! We started late, about 9:30am, I think it was 79 when we started and mid 80s by the time we finished. It wasn’t unbearably hot. Nice breeze at the top and on the way back down.

Nice, moderate level hiking trail with great views. Small ups and downs- nothing too strenuous. Nice to have the nature signs along the way to learn about the environment. Well maintained and Less traveled on the Sunday morning we went.

Long hike delivers a good workout. Feel it’s a bit easier to do Windgate Pass first but for more climbing near the beginning, you can first head to Bell Pass. Beautiful scenery even with grassy areas near Windgate. Not the usual desert scenery. Completely enjoyed it and it took about 4 hours. Loop trail is a plus.

14 miles, not 11.5. I suggest bringing extra water. I used a 2.5L bladder and also had 2 large bottles in my backpack. I had JUST enough water. There is no shade so make sure to have plenty of sunscreen.

My favorite place to hike. Well maintained trails, beautiful views, and you get a great workout too. Can't beat it definitely 5 star material

Nice trail but can be a bit busy on the sections that align with the Gateway Loop trail. But once your past that you will likely not see too many people. Did come across a couple mountain bike riders.

This is a nice hike to get the blood flowing. Definitely more challenging than Gateway Loop.

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