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McDowell Sonoran Preserve

18333 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ
6177243466
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97%
Ranked #2 of 100 Attractions in Scottsdale
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
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327 reviews from our community

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Noosa Heads
Top Contributor
324 reviews 324 reviews
81 attraction reviews
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014 NEW

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 NEW

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
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014 NEW

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
36 reviews 36 reviews
8 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014 NEW 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
37 reviews 37 reviews
9 attraction reviews
103 helpful votes 103 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
31 helpful votes 31 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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Scottsdale, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2014

I love the Preserve because it's nearby, immaculately maintained, and offers a lighted pathed nature walk that is extremely well done for kids to grandparents. Everyone can learn something about the Great Sonoran Desert while getting exercise and sunshine. That's great times for a family. The downside is, experienced hiker or nor, you can easily get lost, over heated, and... More

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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
23 attraction reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2014

The sunset was beautiful. The treks were inviting, but the locals warned us that it would get really dark after sunset and we would get lost on the trails; and the park had signs warning patrols that it closes after sunset. So we just did a short trek and left. Still we liked what we saw.

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