There’s more to Scottsdale, Arizona than golf courses and fancy spas!

As an East Coast girl, I’m super easily impressed by cactuses and other desert plants in their natural habitat. I’m also a fan of afternoon hikes, so I’m not surprised that Pinnacle Peak Park left me wide-eyed with delight at every turn.

Hiking Pinnacle Peak

At just 1.75 miles long, the out-and-back main trail at Pinnacle Peak Park offers the weekend wanderer a quick but satisfying taste of a hike in the Sonoran Desert without having to venture far from Scottsdale proper. If you’re in the Phoenix area for just a short time, you can get an afternoon’s worth of Southwestern outdoor eye candy here. (Hey there, fellow business traveler!) Yup— you can get that Wild West fix of majestic Saguaro cactuses and rock formations without that drive all the way to Sedona.

The park’s facilities and trails are impeccably maintained, with well-defined trail markers and informational displays all along the way. At the peak, you’ll be taking in 360 degrees of breathtaking views from nearly 2900 feet.

Getting there

Pinnacle Peak Park sits about a half-hour drive away from Old Town Scottsdale, give or take up to 20 more minutes from points in Phoenix or Mesa.

Google Maps

Note that if you drive here, you’ll need to double back to the parking lot once you hit the end of the trail, making this jaunt 3.5 miles in total. As visitors sans-rental car, our rideshare dropped us off at the main entrance and parking lot, and then we called for a Lyft at the end of the trail. The area at the end of the trail was relatively deserted, and it’s worth noting that we had a couple of drivers cancel on us once they saw how out of the way the pickup point was.

Splendor (near) the city

This gorgeous protected area is flanked on all sides by privately owned property, punctuating the skyline with dabs of built-into-the-cliffs luxury architecture and manufactured greenery. But this won’t take away from your experience.

Just look up and out onto the golden Arizona horizon— it’s a beautiful sight.

New to hiking?

Check out these common-sense hiking tips I posted with one of my Instagram posts about Pinnacle Peak Park.

1️⃣ Will it be sunny? Slather on the SPF— the higher, the better! Wear a hat, too, while you’re at it. A little bug spray doesn’t hurt, either. Addendum: you ought to wear sunscreen even when the sky is cloudy!

2️⃣ Wear comfortable hiking shoes or sneakers with good traction. (And wear thick socks— preferably wool or some other moisture-wicking fiber!)

3️⃣ Bring water. Like lots of it— as much as you can comfortably carry in your backpack or on your person.

4️⃣ Hike with a buddy whenever possible! If you are on a particularly long or less-traveled trail, always make sure someone not on the hike with you knows where you’ll be, and when you expect to be back.

5️⃣ LEAVE. NO. TRACE. Take nothing but pictures, y’all. And if you can, #PickUpOne (piece of trash, that is).

Heads Up

This post is syndicated from my travel blog, Aspire to Wander. You can read the original article and see more photos here: Pinnacle Peak Park: An Easy Hike and Pretty Views in Scottsdale, Arizona

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