Explore the most popular mountain biking trails near Scottsdale with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I did this in reverse on 4/10, starting at Sunrise Trailhead ending at Lost Dog Wash (need a ride or second car to do this obviously). This direction started with a bug incline and ended with a nice traverse downhill. Stopped for a snack at Sunrise Peak (beautiful shade spot) and was joined by a hummingbird and a few lizards. The trail is pretty rocky so be aware, I'm a flip flop hiker and it wasn't too bad but this was rockier than most of the Gateway Trailhead trails.

The route is much longer.
It will take you all the way to ASU.

Also great for getting around Scottsdale.

Great variety of terrain from general Sonoran desert to rock garden to Saguaro forest. Very nice pretty easy loop

This was a great trail! Difficult but not too hard, we will definitely be back!

18 days ago

Sunrise hikes are the best

hiking
25 days ago

This is a nice beginner trail, and trail to take children to - it has placards along the way that identify plantlife. Pick up a brochure at the entrance so that you can read what each placard references - you'll learn about packrats, for example.
And as much as I enjoyed this trail, it's not one to hike if you're looking for an exertion.
I like that there were only few other hikers. Parking was easy - it's a large, large parking lot.

Although this is a decent hike overall; I didn't like that the first part of it has you walk along a powerline. That reminder of civilization annoyed me, as I hike purposely to unplug and get away from civilization.
But the Balanced Rock itself is cool, as is the hike around it.

trail running
28 days ago

Beautiful Sonoran trail but be sure to WATCH OUT FOR WILDLIFE. I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake that was stretched out across the trail. Eventually it slithered off the trail and I could continue, but always keep an eye a few steps ahead of you.
Otherwise the trail is about what you would expect. Most of the trails are in a little vally surrounded by some larger mountains. I recommend taking the extra mile (.5 out and then back) to Taliesin overlook because the trail otherwise has no great places to stop and see a view.
The trail itself is just like any other trail in the McDowell's, some big rocks sticking out of the dirt with littler rocks laying loose on top. Would not recommend trail running these trails if ankle injuries have been an issue.
Beautiful trail that feels really secluded from the city. Trails are well marked

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
1 month ago

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

Quiet and relaxing.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

Rocky desert trail gives you good exercise

hiking
1 month 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
2 months ago

beautiful hike, great for families. Bring water!!

mountain biking
2 months ago

Smooth and flowy desert ride. I did it counter clockwise and would probably do it clockwise the next time I go...

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

No real hiking paths. We ended up just walking around and exploring. It was nice area but prob wouldn’t go back.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike beautiful scenery, moderate trail condition

hiking
2 months 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.

Beautiful hike and very well marked and maintained trail

Great trail. Mostly flat. Great for all ages.

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

hiking
2 months ago

Always a good hike.

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.

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.

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