10 Places to Go Enjoy the Outdoors in Arizona

The landscape surrounding Scottsdale offers a wide-range of outdoor experiences for all skill levels.
By: Steve Larese

Photo By: SunDevilStormin

Photo By: Jill Richards

Photo By: Jill Richards

Photo By: Peter Milota, Jr.

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is Scottsdale’s dominate landscape feature and has two popular and strenuous 1.4-mile hikes to the top: Echo Canyon and Cholla trails. Hikers in the Scottsdale area should always bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen and avoid the heat of the day.

Superstition Mountains Wilderness Area

Located less than hour east of Scottsdale via AZ 202, the volcanically formed, 160,000-acre Superstition Mountains Wilderness Area is lined with a variety of hiking trails, including the popular Peralta Trail, Wave Canyon Trail and the Hieroglyphic Trail. It is within the Superstition Mountains that the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine is said to be. Camping with facilities is available at nearby Lost Dutchman State Park.

Golf in Scottsdale

An abundance of sunny days and year-round warm weather make Scottsdale a golf destination, especially during the winter months.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trails

McDowell Sonoran Preserve protects 30,500 acres of Sonoran desert just east of Scottdale. Trails ranging from easy to difficult wind through the desert filled with saguaro cactus and wildflowers. Trail maps are available through the City of Scottsdale, which manages the area.

Salt River

The 200-mile-long Salt River formed by tributaries in the Superstition Mountains is itself the largest tributary to the Gila River. It flows 30 miles east of Scottsdale, and is a destination for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, tubing, camping and fishing.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is home to the world's most diverse collection of cacti and other native desert plants. Explore the five trails that showcase various desert life zones, then enjoy the ongoing exhibits, restaurant and the new Butterfly Pavilion.

Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek Regional Park north of Scottsdale is a 2,922-acre Sonoran desert park popular with hikers and equestrians. The history rich area is home to a variety of wildlife, including desert tortoises.

Rock Climbing

The iconic Praying Monk at Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak Park are two popular areas for rock climbers in the Scottsdale area. Boulders Resort and Spa offers rock climbing classes for beginners.

Pinnacle Peak Park

Pinnacle Peak Park’s trail is a 1.75-mile one-way hike through the Sonoran desert in Scottsdale. It’s trailhead begins at 2,570 feet and climbs to the Pinnacle Peak summit at 2,889 feet before descending to 2,366 feet. The moderate climb to the summit pays off with sweeping views of Paradise Valley.

Sedona

A two-hour drive north of Scottsdale via US 17, Sedona is a favorite getaway for Scottsdale residents. Known for its many hikes through its red-rock formations, Sedona offers a cool respite from Scottsdale’s summer heat.

Next Up

Sedona Outdoor Activities

Sedona, AZ, is often called "Red Rock Country"; the geologic backdrop of this stunning city inspires many to get out and explore the great outdoors.

8 Outdoor Activities to Do in LA Right Now

From beach bonfires to 10,000-foot peaks, there are endless ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Los Angeles’ great outdoors.

Top 10 National Park Activities

Here's our selection for the most exciting and unusual national park activities on land and sea and even deep underground, including sandboarding, spelunking and more.

Maui's Top 10 Family Activities

From helicopter tours to surfing lessons, this Hawaiian island offers a wide array of things to do with your family.

Spring Time Activities The Whole Family Can Enjoy

From annual events including the Cherry Blossom Festival to some events that only the locals know about, such as the Bethesda Literary Festival, here are my 5 picks for family-friendly things to do this spring in Washington, DC.

10 Family-Friendly Activities in Chattanooga

We're talking fun in this river city.