McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||4.5 miles (7.2 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||750 feet (229m)|
|Highest Elevation||2,392 feet (729m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Park Website||McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
This “best of” McDowell Sonoran Preserve hike offers well-marked trails, easy climbs, nice views, and classic Sonoran desert scenery on the Gateway Loop Trail. The hike is a great intro hike to McDowell Sonoran Preserve and is suitable for all levels of hikers. And unlike Camelback Mountain, McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a peaceful oasis where you can connect with nature and unwind.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve was created in 1990 when private citizens and the city of Scottsdale realized that they had to protect this pristine nature from development. They formed the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a public-private partnership. The preserve is run by and cared for by private volunteers. Very awesome.
Getting to McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Use this trailhead address: 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ, 85255, USA
The parking lot is huge and you should be okay to find a spot.
Gear for the Hike
You can get away with fitness gear here, but hiking gear works too. Bring lots of water, it can get very hot.
The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women)
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trail Maps
The trail system is well marked and there are free trail maps at the Gateway Trailhead. The Gateway Trailhead also has water, bathrooms, and volunteers who will answer questions.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike Directions
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Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.