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 Contact||McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead|
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.
Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.
Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.
This is a super-light and comfortable backpack that can hold everything you need on a hike, including a hydration bladder. It also works great as a general backpack or carry-on.
Make your photos stand out by using this lightweight, do-anything tripod. The Joby attaches your smartphone to trees, rocks, whatever you can find on the trail. Folds down compactly too.
Don’t waster your money on hiking gear that’s no good, I’ve done that for you already! Full HikingGuy Gear List
* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:
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
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.