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Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

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Columbus, OH
posts: 95
reviews: 35
Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

We Will be staying on the north side of Phoenix mid-December. Can anyone recommend outdoor recreation in natural areas? Those places that have been reclaimed or protected from development, especially with wildlife protection or native plant restorations.

We've never visited any desert region and we're coming from Ohio so we'd love to see what a natural desert area is like.

We'll have a car, so a 2 hour drive is fine. Thank you!

Arizona
Destination Expert
for Scottsdale
posts: 3,766
reviews: 27
1. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

The McDowell Regional Park is north east of the town of Fountain Hills and is one of my favorite places just for what you are looking for. My favorite 2.5 mile hike is the North Trail, wide and fairly even grade, views of the Superstitions. They charge $6 per car to get in so i think it keeps the numbers down inside the park. Many lovely hikes for all abilities. About 45-60 mins drive from N. Phx area.

Also look at the Cave Creek Regional Park, same approach but a smaller park, maybe closer to where you are staying.

The city trails in Scottsdale trails system (Sonoran preserve) are really well done and have some great views, but they are very popular and well traveled. I will give the link below for your interest though.

http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/trails

http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell/

www.maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek/

Tempe, AZ
posts: 6,966
reviews: 4
2. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

If you're in north Phoenix, you're close to North Mountain Park:

phoenix.gov/parks/…index.html

Harleysville...
Destination Expert
for Fountain Hills
posts: 3,731
reviews: 211
3. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

I will 2nd what AZ fan said. Our place is in Fountain Hills and fortunate to have such close advantahe to this great park. Their rangers are outstanding and they offer many special events there. After a hike there take time to see the beautiful Fountain at the Fountain Hills Park and enjoy lunch or dinner at Euro Pizza. Excellent food.

We also like the Cave Creek Park also. You cant go wrong with either park and if you have time you can go to both.

Harleysville...
Destination Expert
for Fountain Hills
posts: 3,731
reviews: 211
4. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

I meant to add that if you can find any activity with Ranger Amy, she is the absolute best.

Scottsdale, Arizona
posts: 201
reviews: 47
5. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

McDowell Sonoran Preserve is probably closest to you with many trails to choose from. Park at the Gateway Trail head for the best options. Also, if you would like to hike to Tom's Thumb (you'll get it when you see it), you can avoid the 10 mile round trip hike by starting at 128th St., instead of Gateway. It's a little longer drive but only a 3 mile hike. Great views and all unspoiled.

I also like McDowell Regional Park as indicated above. Plenty to do and see.

Not mentioned above might be Pinnacle Peak Park. Nice trails, not too difficult and great views.

When you are done with PPP drop into Greasewood Flat for a beer and a burger. Outdoor picnic tables and music at night. Fun place.

Finally, if you are looking for a nice drive, take Route 88 (Apache Trail) east out of Mesa and drive to Canyon Lake and onto Tortilla Flats. The drive is scenic, the lake is beautiful and you can stop and rest at Tortilla Flats for lunch or a beer. They have a live band at the outdoor bar on weekends.

Columbus, OH
posts: 95
reviews: 35
6. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

Thanks to everyone for the details. I'll report back after the trip

7. Re: Natural, unspoiled or restored areas to visit

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