McDowell Sonoran Preserve
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
1,132 reviews
Excellent
892
Very good
208
Average
28
Poor
2
Terrible
2

Edward F
23 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
We visited the preserve on two different days from two different trailheads. Both Gateway and Lost Dog Wash trailheads had good parking, restrooms and trails. There were good maps and well marked trails in good condition. The trails were interlinked loops, so you could start on one but switch to another if you wanted to see different territory.

For example at the Lost Dog Wash trailhead, we started in the Ring Tail trail. But at a junction at a choice to stay on that trail that had city views, but switched to Lost Dog Wash to hike into a different little valley with more birds, plants and cactus to see.

WeSaw lots of people both days, but it didn’t feel crowded at all.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KampOC
Twin Lakes, WI162 contributions
Jan 2020
There are several different trails of varying degree of difficulty to choose from, so great for a short walk or a long, serious hike. The views are tremendous from anywhere, looking down on the valley with Scottsdale and Phoenix in the far background. You're truly out in wilderness here so stay on the paths, look around, enjoy the flowers and cactus, and take it all in while getting some exercise. We like to go here whenever we are in Scottsdale/Phoenix on vacation, really enjoy the scenery and views, getting out into nature. This is a short drive from Scottsdale, under 10 minutes from Salt River Fields @ Talking Stick, about 20 minutes from Old Town Scottsdale and 25 from ASU campus. Well worth it.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

72850007
Scottsdale, AZ113 contributions
Apr 2020
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is fantatic! With more than 225 miles of trails over 30,000+ acres, there is a hike for everyone. It is obviously hot in the summer, so you will want to take plenty of water and go early in the day. During the winter, it is actually more comfortable to wait until it warms up a little. Be aware of your surroundings. Treat the Preserve with respect. Enjoy!
Written April 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jim K
17 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
This preserve is amazing. To start with there is a Nature Trail that tells you all about the desert, it’s plants, trees and cactus. You can cover this trail and read all about the desert in about an hour. After that you can head out on a desert hiking trail. There are dozens of trails and just like at a ski resort there all ranked from easy to advanced. The trails are rocky, but well maintained. Unfortunately the Preserve is not handicap accessible. I would recommend that you take a bottle of water along with you since there aren’t any drinking fountains out in the desert!?!
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JPGira
12 contributions
Jan 2020
Rode the desert trails with teens. Great views, very safe, paths are well marked, you can time your circuit, and extend or shorten easily. Different skill levels in paths to choose from. We saw a whole deer family, foxes, and many birds in one outing. Teens where not specially enthusiastic in the beginning, they became as the adventure progressed.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

travelingr0cks
Minneapolis, MN90 contributions
Nov 2022 • Friends
Amazing variety of trails for all ages and abilities! You could spend an hour or a day here. We did a 2-hour easy hike that included a nature trail with fun info boards with facts and questions (great for all ages). Lots of cacti to see. Guided hikes available and public restrooms. Wear sunscreen, bring water and wear a hat if possible. Highly recommend!
Written November 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JiffMan
Charleston, SC61 contributions
Jan 2020
This is a great network of trails winding through the desert near Scottsdale. Lots of neat rock formations, big Saguaros and beautiful views.

The parking lots are paved and the trails well maintained and marked. We chose the Marcus Landslide trail, which is a 4-mile out and back trail. The last part of the trail features a short loop that provides pretty views.

When we rolled in, the parking lot was pretty full, but there are several trails so the hike itself wasn't busy at all.

Trails are open to mountain bikes and dogs. There are restrooms at the main trailhead.

The sad part of this preserve is that there are several housing developments in the works. It won't be long before visitors are looking over rooftops instead of the natural land. So visit soon.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ashlyn F
Nashville, TN146 contributions
Oct 2020
We hiked the Gateway Loop Trail that is almost 5 miles long. This is a nice, intermediate trail. the trail is very rocky and dusty. Elevation change is not too bad, and there are only parts of the trail that become strenuous. It is about 25 mins from Old Town Scottsdale
Written October 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Da1964
Northville, MI53 contributions
Dec 2021
Beautiful scenery in very direction. Skill levels do not need to be high but bring water, sun screen (if you are pale like me), sunglasses and a hat. Always good to have a map handy and a GPS watch or smart phone does not hurt if don’t have a guide.
Written December 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Philip C
Calgary, Canada61 contributions
May 2022
We are senior citizens and we were able to comfortably walk two of the trails (despite the heat!) The accessible trail is easy and informative as there are numerous signs giving information about the desert plants and wildlife. We also did the next easiest trail. If you are more ambitious, there are trails taking multiple hours and some endurance. Trail head is well serviced with washrooms and water fountains.
Written May 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve (Scottsdale) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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