McDowell Sonoran Preserve
There is no natural beauty quite like the haunting and mystical beauty of the Arizona desert. No trip to the state would be complete with out a hike or bike ride through the desert. If you want to avoid the tourists at the Grand Canyon, you may want to check out Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The area contains 30,000 acers of desert land and provides a more secluded getaway than some of the other natural attractions in Arizona. The preserve has an interesting history and terrain and there are some fantastic hiking trails.
The conservatory, which is located outside of Scottsdale, was established in 1991; in 1996, they began a trail building program as well as a program which trains volunteer stewards. The conservatory was integral in the year 2000s movement to strengthen the laws protecting Arizona’s public trust lands, and by 2004 it had become one of the largest urban preserves in the country. Today, the area has many hiking, biking, and horse trails and over 500 stewards. It has become a center for wildlife study and research.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve contains an impressive 160 miles of hiking trails making it the perfect way to see some scenery and get some exercise to boot. There are seven trails in the area each of them offers its own unique scenery and a different level of difficulty.
Lost Dog Wash Trail offers a short and easy hike for both children and adults to enjoy. It has a natural desert dry wash where the foliage attracts much desert wildlife.
The Sunrise Trail is a switchback that offers a view of both the upper and lower canyon. It is quite steep and provides an excellent cardio vascular work out.
Ringtail Trail is a 2.4-mile loop where you will see some breathtaking views and wildflowers. You can also see the remnants of tools that were used by early man.
If you like a little education with your exercise, you may want to try the Brown’s Ranch Trail, which has an interpretive exhibit about the history of the area. The trail is three miles long and has a gentle 100-foot elevation.