Photo by Dennis Eckel, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy steward
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
In 1995, Scottsdale residents voted to set aside a large parcel of undeveloped city land as protected open space. Today, the roughly 30,000-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides an opportunity for adventure. Hike, bike, and rock climb, or take to the trails with local guides from Arizona Outback Adventures and learn all about the desert along the way. Because most of the creatures that live in this desert habitat are more active at night, the best time to view animals is on early morning or evening hikes.
Located just outside Phoenix and Scottsdale is this amazing landscape that represents far more than just a barren desert, and offers plenty of hiking trails for families. Take a few hours to see this incredible living wilderness. There are numerous guides options and Experience Scottsdale offers a great list of trails. The perfect starter hike for any traveler, especially families, is the half-mile Bajada Trail near the the Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway. If your group still feels like exploring, continue along the Saguaro Loop Trail!