Tips for Hiking in Scottsdale

  1. Log into https://www.alltrails.com/ or download the app.
  2. WATER! WATER! WATER! – Sweat evaporates immediately, and staying hydrated is essential.
  3. Hike really early in the morning. Be at the trailhead no later than 6am and plan to be done no later than 8am or 9am.
  4. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Sunglasses are also good to wear.
  5. Hike without earbuds. It is good to hear things (like a rattle, which is rare but possible).
  6. Take a buddy.
  7. Think “Safety first.” People get hurt everyday (7 rescues a week off of Camelback) and occasionally people die on our trails.

We recommend using the website alltrails.com or downloading the All Trails app if you plan on hiking while attending Grand Chapter. Less than 30 minutes from the Westin Kierland Resort are over 140 trails. The Phoenix Mountain Preserve has over 77 trails and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve has over 71 trails. There are hikes for every skill level in the area. A few are featured below, but the options are many. Desert hiking essentials include lots of water, sunscreen, a hat and closed-toed shoes.

Gateway Loop Trail

Moderate Difficultya 4.2-mile, 715-foot elevation gain, heavily trafficked loop trail. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

5.7 miles, 15-minute drive from hotel.

Lost Dog Trail

A 4.2-mile out and back trail with 410-foot elevation gain. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking. Dogs also are able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

9.4 miles, 22-minute drive from hotel.

Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon

Difficult – A heavily trafficked out and back trail located 2.5-mile hike with elevation gain of 1,414 feet. The trail is a tough climb that takes 40 to 60 minutes to summit depending on the hiker. This trail is extremely popular; we recommend that you arrive early to find parking.

10.1 miles, 20-minute drive from hotel.

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail

DifficultPiestewa Peak Summit Trail #300 is a 2.2-mile trail, 1,151-foot elevation gain, heavily trafficked out and back trail. Perhaps the busiest local hike. Many terrific alternate hikes near here in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve that are in the easy, moderate and difficult categories.

13 miles, 20-minute drive from hotel.

Freedom Trail

Moderate Difficulty3.6-mile trail, 1,105-foot elevation gain. A heavily trafficked loop trail located in around the base of Piestewa Peak.

12 miles, 20-minute drive from hotel.

Tom’s Thumb Trail

Difficult – A 4.0-mile trail, 1,236-foot elevation gain with a short switchback trail from Tom's Thumb trailhead up to Tom's Thumb spur at the intersection of the Windgate Trail. Hikers are treated to gorgeous views of the southern McDowell Mountains and urban Phoenix.

15 miles, 30-minute drive from hotel.