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McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Address: 18333 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ
Phone Number: 6177243466
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97%
Ranked #1 of 50 Attractions in Scottsdale
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
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329 reviews from our community

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Orlando, Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2014 NEW

This is a natural preserve with beautiful Saguaro cacti and other native vegetation. You can hike a trail as long or short as you wish, and from easy to strenuous There is even an ADA compliant nature trail. Bring a camera, plenty of water, and have a great time.

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Plymouth, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2014 NEW

Our hotel provided us with the option of going on an guided, early-morning mountain hike. We enjoyed all of the beautiful scenery looking down over Phoenix at sunrise. We saw a wide variety of interesting looking cactus including some that were blooming. Gorgeous gorges.

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Noosa Heads
Top Contributor
333 reviews 333 reviews
84 attraction reviews
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

This a pretty place but not spectacular. If you like the desert and a walk through the saltbush and Saguaro cactus then this place is for you but it lacks the more spectacular scenery elsewhere in the valley.

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Lancashire
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
9 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

The Preserve opened up more land, trailheads and trails last year. Known as the Northern Region, this is located on Dynamite Blvd, North Scottsdale. There is Browns Ranch Trailhead (North on Alma School Road) Fraesfield Trailhead (Dynamite/Rio Verde) and access to Tom Thumb Trailhead via 128th Street. Various hikes, many fairly flat, some climbs all interconnect so you can make... More

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Livonia, Michigan
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
7 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014

Thanks to TripAdvisor, we spent two mornings hiking here during our recent vacation. The preserve offers a variety of trail heads, terrains, and lengths for day hiking all within the Scottsdale city limits for free. You can pick up a map at many of the trail heads. On day 1, we hiked the 4.5 mile Gateway Loop. It was much... More

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Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
8 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014 via mobile

We are staying at one of the Starwood properties in Scottsdale and found this hike through TripAdvisor. This preserve is an excellent place to hike. We did the Gateway Loop Trail. It was about 4.5 miles, had 600' of vertical, and took us about 2 hours. The views of Scottsdale from the elevated parts of the trail were beautiful. They... More

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Dayton, Ohio
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
9 attraction reviews
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014

Hiked several of the trails at the preserve on an overcast day. This made it nice since there is no shade at all on the trails we hiked. Went on a weekday afternoon so parking at the trailhead was no problem. The signs marking the different trails are very good.

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Scottsdale, Arizona
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
102 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2014

I live it Scottsdale and love this park. I use this park for training purposes and it has prepared me for many trips to the Grand Canyon. Bell Pass hike is one of my favorite hikes. This park is a great local spot and it gets very crowded when the weather cools. To avoid people just take a longer hike,... More

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Boulder CO
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2014

We hike the Sunrise Peak trail from the end of Via Linda. No trouble parking (weekday) and the trail was clean and well marked. Cactus were identified by signs at the entrance to the trail. It was a beautiful day and we went all the way to the Peak. Great views and lots of photo opportunities for cactus!

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Utica, New York
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
7 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2014

I only gave this an average rating because we've hiked in every National Park in the western U.S. So in relative terms, the sights on these trails are relatively modest, but it is a wonderful urban resource. We're in our mid-sixties and over five days we hiked every trail in this park that was less than 6 miles (except for... More

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