Explore the most popular trail running 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.

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

4 days 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.

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.

18 days ago

Great trail. Too many black flies in May

Great hike go early it gets hot!!

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

We clocked 14.2 miles on this hike with a detour to Tom’s Thumb. Not really sure why we had so much more mileage, though I saw someone else got 14 miles as well. Bring a LOT of water, I had over 3L and ran out. It was warm when we did it, started at 82F and ended at 105F, and we ran out of water at around when we thought we would be ending, mile 11.5. Start early, wear sun protection. Don’t take this hike lightly.

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

22 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!

Started the hike at 6am. @ the south end - Sunrise Trailhead. Took us a little more than 6 hours. Once we hit the EastEnd we were spent. Defiantly toughest part of the trail. Sunrise, Sonoran & Dixie Mine are beautiful trails and are not difficult. But at the about the 11th mile it became very challenging. We saw lots of blooming cactus and a desert tortoise. Great hike for experienced hikers or those wanting a challenge. We logged it at 14.2 miles.

28 days ago

Very busy on weekends. Excellent facilities at base. Well marked. Great trail for tourists.

29 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.

29 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.

beautiful trail for a run. not hard and can easily be done in an hour to 1.5 hours

This trail goes all the way up. It's a long, gradual climb to the top - somewhat challenging once you get up on the mountain, so we ran parts and hiked parts. The view from the top is totally worth it. 360-degree views of the entire valley and all its peaks! Running back down in the dark with headlamps was fun, and the terrain wasn't too challenging - felt totally safe/comfortable going at a good clip.

trail running
1 month ago

Absolutely love running this trail! Great workout. I go early at sunrise. Although the trail is marked as shorter it always clocks at 5.4-5.8 miles for me from the visitors center I think from zig zagging the terrain. Great views, and the cacti are blooming now

1 month 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.

1 month ago

One of my favorites!

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