McDowell Sonoran Preserve
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
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  • PJS890
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin105 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    True desert experience
    If you want a great desert hike and experiment, Gateway trail is a good one. I’d consider it challenging, we did a 5 mile loop that rooks us 2 hours but we were taking our time, some inclines. Saw some roadrunners and other birds along the way. Very friendly volunteers/workers at the main building that were ready to offer advice and answer questions
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 11 November 2023
  • Noraatc
    Sudbury, Massachusetts38,718 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Perfect easy, moderate and difficult hikes
    We have been in the world of cacti. Tall saguaros dominated the landscape and looked gorgeous on the background of McDowell Mountains and setting sun. We walked on the Bajada Nature Trail and learned a good lesson about the mountains, animals of the desert, and of course different types of cacti. Then we hiked on the Saguaro Loop Trail, which is easy and flat - just watch your step along the path. We will be back tomorrow to do more hikes.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 6 January 2024
  • mocampers
    Columbia, Missouri55 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great hikes
    Wonderful trails to hike and well marked too. Not too crowded on the day we went and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We spent half a day here and could have definitely spent longer if we had more time.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 March 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,151 reviews
Excellent
908
Very good
210
Average
29
Poor
2
Terrible
2

Jim K
15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 5 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

72850007
Scottsdale, AZ123 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 28 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JPGira
12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PJS890
Milwaukee, WI105 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
If you want a great desert hike and experiment, Gateway trail is a good one. I’d consider it challenging, we did a 5 mile loop that rooks us 2 hours but we were taking our time, some inclines. Saw some roadrunners and other birds along the way. Very friendly volunteers/workers at the main building that were ready to offer advice and answer questions
Written 11 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JiffMan
Charleston, SC64 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ian Toronto Zoomer
Toronto, Canada7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
We went at sunset in mid December when the light is low on the smallest Loop close to the centre facility. Seeing the sunlight through the cacti was just delightful.
And the Loop was easy to walk with a path that had no rocks for the less nimble.
Written 23 December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denise C
34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
We really enjoyed hiking in the preserve. We did the Gateway Loop. It was rated moderate to difficult. It was a little difficult because it was very rocky but not really steep. It was an urban trail and there were a number of groups of woman walking and talking loudly. Not quite as peaceful as some other trails. We also did the Marcus Landslide trail and loop at the other end of the preserve. It was fairly easy until right before the loop and the loop. We had to stop for about 5 minutes right before the loop for a Diamondback Rattler to cross our trail. He went on his way and before we could continue we also saw a Red Racer disappear into the brush. It was a nice hike, but be alert! We saw quite a few rabbits along the trail and lots of cactus flowers! There are more trails we would like to do on a future trip. We are from NC so we stayed on eastern time and just hiked between 6 and 9 or so each day. Before it got too hot! The preserve volunteers were there each day when we finished our hikes. They were very friendly and helpful. We are in our late 60’s.
Written 4 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Noraatc
Sudbury, MA38,718 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
We have been in the world of cacti. Tall saguaros dominated the landscape and looked gorgeous on the background of McDowell Mountains and setting sun.

We walked on the Bajada Nature Trail and learned a good lesson about the mountains, animals of the desert, and of course different types of cacti. Then we hiked on the Saguaro Loop Trail, which is easy and flat - just watch your step along the path.

We will be back tomorrow to do more hikes.
Written 6 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashlyn F
Nashville, TN138 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 25 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travelingr0cks
Minneapolis, MN99 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 14 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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