Among the most beautiful trails in Scottsdale, AZ is the hiking trail at Pinnacle Peak Park. It’s known for many lovely arrays of Arizona’s most beautiful wildflowers and lush foliage. It’s a great hike through the Sonoran Desert ecosystem for almost anyone since it’s a relatively short trail of only about one and three-quarters of a mile each way. Although the Peak is only 600 feet from the desert floor, there are still some spectacular views from several areas of the trail. The trail will not take you to the Peak’s summit, but if you’re more adventuresome, you might try to reach the summit by other means, like rock climbing.
If you do opt for this more strenuous exercise, just know that it’s not for beginners. Also, the lower east side of the park is the only area where rock climbing is prohibited. Make sure you have the gear you need, rope, climbing shoes, harness, helmet, etc., or rangers may not allow you to chance the climb. Finally, choose the route that is right for your skill level.
Some experienced equestrians also choose to ride their horses through the trail. The operative word here is experienced, though, because the trail is too narrow and steep to be safe for just the casual rider.
Lookouts and Views
Along the trail, you can stop and relax, sitting on some stone benches at Grandview Lookout where you will get a panoramic look at the valley below and McDowall Mountain, a couple of miles away. At Owls Rest, a little farther up the trail, you will have a view of Camelback Mountain.
Some accommodations feature incredible views. One must-stay place is the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows. It offers a picturesque view of Pinnacle Park and the surrounding environs. Spread across 23 acres, this resort offers everything: private bungalows, world-class dining, and an amazing spa. The Scottsdale Camelback Resort, named for the iconic local mountains, is a great place to stay if you want to try to conquer that peak. It’s another fun, well-appointed resort with a 9-hole golf course, walking trails, spas, and more.
Some Pinnacle Peak Park Rules
- Dogs are not allowed
- No smoking
- No alcoholic beverages
- Be out of the park by dusk
- No bicycles or any motorized vehicles on the trail
Some Pinnacle Peak Park Safety Tips
- Not a loop trail so walk or jog to your right
- Wear a hat and use sunscreen
- Allow at least two hours before dusk for the hike
- Do not veer from trail
- Take insect repellent
- Take plenty of water
- Take a first-aid kit
Full Moon Hikes and Astronomy
If you do want to be in the park after dusk, take advantage of the Full Moon Hikes they offer. There is no fee for this hike, but you must register for it. The guided hike lasts for about an hour and a half.
Another night event that kids enjoy, especially, is the Astronomy Evening where participants learn about the visible objects they are seeing in that particular night sky through a real NASA telescope. It’s a great learning and entertainment experience in a peaceful and beautiful setting.