Arizona is home to countless hiking areas, but Pinnacle Peak stands out as one of the best. The regal granite mountain rises from the beautiful Sonoran Desert like a guardian watching over the valley of Scottsdale. This area is popular with hikers because the views are unrivaled. Whether you visit during sunrise, sunset or midday, you’ll witness some of the most extraordinary scenes nature offers.
Walk or Climb Your Way to Paradise
The Pinnacle Peak Park trail is easy to navigate, and the views get better as you go. While traveling the 1.75-mile undulating path, you’ll see gorgeous native plant life, including the famous saguaro cactuses, creosote shrubs and red berry junipers. Splashes of color from wildflowers and lichen-coated rocks add to the storybook setting. This isn’t a looped trail, but you’ll still get a totally new perspective on the way back.
Although the trail doesn’t lead to the summit, you can observe some spectacular scenery. At an elevation of nearly 2,900 feet, you’ll see an expanse of lush desert, luxurious homes and majestic mountains. The peculiar silhouette of Camelback Mountain is in the distance. If you’re an experienced rock climber, you can journey even higher and take in more astounding views from the mountain’s peak.
Enhance Your Experience
By following the trail to the west and ascending toward Grandview Lookout, you can catch a phenomenal sunset. The desert landscape blazes with vibrant shades of crimson and rust while the sky becomes a watercolor painting of indigo, magenta and amber. From this vantage point, everything seems exaggerated and dreamlike. It feels as if nature is putting on a special performance before the lights go out for the night.
Sundown is a great time to see the unusual wildlife of Pinnacle Peak. Smaller critters can be seen scurrying between boulders, and it’s common for spiny lizards to stand at the side of the path doing funny little pushups. At twilight, you’ll likely see rabbits, Gila monsters and tortoises sneaking in some dinner. If you’re lucky, you may even glimpse larger mammals such as bobcats, javelinas, roadrunners and coyotes.
Change Your Viewpoint
Climbing Pinnacle Peak allows you to see the unique textures and shapes of the mountain boulders up close, but viewing the summit from a distance is even more fascinating. One of the best places to see Pinnacle Peak’s distinctive shape is at the Lost Dog Wash Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This family-friendly 6-mile loop climbs gradually to an overlook where you can observe the imposing outline of the peak.
There are also several mountain bike trails in the preserve where you can cover more territory at a quicker pace. The paths dip through the desert, so you’ll see how truly diverse this environment is. You can stop at various viewing areas to take pictures of Pinnacle Peak framed by the lovely Arizona sky. Its tilted boulders seem to defy gravity, and the shades of mahogany, forest green and slate make a wonderfully earthy image.
No matter how you enjoy the beauty of Pinnacle Peak, you’ll encounter something completely unforgettable. The Peak’s hiking area is approximately 25 minutes from our hotel, so you can make last-minute plans for an excursion. Whether you want a full workout or a carefree stroll, this is the ultimate hiking destination. You and your family can have the wilderness experience in a safe, inviting and wildly picturesque setting.
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