Explore the most popular nature trips 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, 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.

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.

14 days ago

Great trail. Too many black flies in May

Good 10.5 mile loop if you mix in the Wingate Pass and East End Trails.

The Thumb was actually really cool to see! The approach at the beginning was a little steep, but overall not too hard. Great hike!

hiking
18 days ago

Lookout points along the trail provided a scenic opportunity to take pictures and rest. The trail was harder than expected. Lots of steep uphill areas. We did not finish and turned around half way through (which we anticipated based on other reviews). However, it was a beautiful view and we are glad to have done it (even if we didn’t finish).

Nice trail with views.

Fantastic hike but very little shade on your way up. Not overly challenging but a fantastic view at the top!

hiking
25 days ago

Absolute gorgeous hikes with incredible views around every corner! Got to go back this morning for a sunrise hike and it was magical to watch the light as it painted the hills around every corner. And well worth the super early rising to avoid the direct sun exposure as we snaked up the switchbacks too. This hike was so beautiful, and the geological structures so immense it makes you feel like an ant in the grand creation. Definitely a new favorite place on this planet.

hiking
25 days ago

Great hike with well maintained trails and scenic views. Agree with moderate rating. Heart rate didn’t get up super high but we did run some of it to make it more of a workout. Great nook in the “thumb” at summit to take water and snack with shade. Many switchbacks make the elevation change much less challenging than camelback hike.

hiking
27 days ago

This trail is absolutely breathtaking and we will be back! Word to the wise - the park hours are serious they close at sunset - meaning a gate closes at the entrance to the park area and you may have to call to get out. We didn’t realize and had planned to do a sunset hike thinking we could stay after sunset while it was still light so it was a very quick stop but the sunset was sooooooo beautiful I would highly recommend timing your hike so you’re walking out right at sunset. Gorgeous area, wildflowers, a sweet bunny, we will definitely be back.

hiking
27 days ago

One of my favorites!

Great trail for trail running. I did part of the east end loop as well. Great views

hiking
1 month ago

I love this trail. It’s pretty steep for the first 1.5 miles but then levels off. The views are amazing!

Such a beautiful hike with amazing views. I give it “two thumbs up”.

hiking
1 month ago

Family of five with three kids in elementary school had a blast on this hike. First mile is mostly up but then flattens out for second mile to Tom’s Thumb. Beautiful views and a well-maintained trail get two thumbs up ;)

Great Hike. Well maintained trail all the way up. The steward at the top was very friendly and provide good info about the area. Took the dog with and had to keep him on the leash the whole time due to high traffic and previous reviews of snakes being more active near the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike just an hour out of Phoenix. Uphill the entire way out, but it’s a well kept, smooth, dirt trail, so not too strenuous. Some steep cross-backs. No trees, so being water if it’s warm! Hiking among the pebbles of giants.

on Brown's Ranch Short Loop

1 month ago

Easy but interesting hike with great views. I went during the week and saw only a few people. This would be a great hike to take out of town guest on.

hiking
1 month ago

Decent sized parking lot. The center at the trailhead does not have water, but they have restrooms.
The first 1.2ish miles of the hike are a good leg workout (pretty uphill) but the rest isn’t bad.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Excellent views of the valley. Bring plenty of water. No water at trailhead.
Def worth the climb. Fair description of trail.

Not exactly hiking but not sure what to call it. Think of the worst beach you’ve ever been to and worsen by ten. Terrible footing and walking in a sand filled concrete culvert for two miles is not enjoyable at all. So many real trails do not bother with this one.

Hiked this last Sunday 4/8. Great hike, but you MUST bring water especially if you start after 10 am and it's projected to be over 85 degrees out! Very uphill.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike! My favorite valley hike!

Lovely views. But, start early and bring plenty of water!

A really nice trailhead and most of the trail is sand/gravel, which can be slippery coming down. I wore Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes and didn’t slip once. The trail starts off with a slight upward climb, but then gets pretty steep a half mile in. It’s not as steep at the higher elevations. The trail to The Lookout was more rocky and narrow. I saw only one other person. Great hike.

hiking
1 month ago

As a person who is not in excellent shape I found the first mile and a half a bit challenging. It reminded me alot of climbing Black Mountain in Cave Creek. It is a slow but steady climb. Once I was past the 1.5 mile mark I found the climb easier . Maybe that’s because I was distracted by the scenery and the many wonderful vantage points. The path is very wide and easy to follow. Indications along the way were clear. I truly enjoyed this trail and will hike it again.

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