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McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Ongoing Trail Work in the McDowell Mountains

The City of Scottsdale would like Preserve users to be aware that maintenance work is underway on some of the trails in the McDowell Mountains. ALL TRAILS WILL REMAIN OPEN during the work. From now through the end of April, you may encounter City of Scottsdale trail contractors and equipment along various routes including the Gateway Loop, Windgate Pass, Bell Pass, Tom’s Thumb, Prospector, East End, Windmill, Sunrise and Andrews-Kinsey Trails. If you encounter the professional trail crew, please proceed with caution. Thank you for your patience.

Temporary Rock Climbing Closure - North Face of Tom's Thumb
Beginning on February 1, 2017, the northern face of Tom’s Thumb is temporarily closed to public access to protect sensitive birds of prey in that area. THE TOM’S THUMB TRAIL REMAINS OPEN. Please see the flyer for more information.

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a large, permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat.

Trail Maps & Trailheads

The Preserve has an interconnected network of non-motorized multi-use trails (hike/bike/horse) accessed from multiple trailhead locations.


Hours & Rules

The Preserve is open everyday, sunrise to sunset, free of charge. All trailheads open and close at specific times throughout the year.

Please observe all rules and regulationslinks to external site including no alcohol, smoking or fires.


Dogs in the Preserve are a privilege.  If you bring your dog it is your responsibility to follow the rules: Dogs must be on hand held leash, no longer than 6 feet at all times. Waste must be pick up immediately and either disposed of in a trash container or carried with you until you reach a trash container.  Loose or bagged waste on the trail is prohibited.   Please help us keep our trails open to our four-legged friends by following these rules.   Don't forget to consider the temperature for your dog's safety. Dogs can not deal with heat as well as people. Sadly, every year we have situations where dogs die in the Preserve. The typical recommendation is if it is over 90 degrees at anytime in your hike, it's too hot for a dog.  There are breeds that are even more sensitive as well as older, heavier dogs or young puppies.


Permits are required for special activities and all commercial and organizational events including photography and filming. Please fill out a request form to begin the process.  It typically takes 2 to 3 weeks for a permit to be issued. Call 480-312-7013 for more information or read the Preserve's Special Use Guidelines. (PDF)

Guided Hikes and Events

For information on guided hikes of Scottsdale's Preserve, visit the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.links to external site

McDowell Sonoran Preserve Videos

Contact Information

Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve
7447 E. Indian School Rd. Suite 300
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
P: 480-312-7013

Kroy Ekblaw
Preserve Director
P: 480-312-7064

Ruth Johnson
Admin Support
P: 480-312-2304