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About Hiking in the Desert

An outdoor experience... A bit of diversity

More diversity per square foot than most forests? Deer, squirrels, hawks, lizards, coyotes, antelopes, and a multitude of birds, but wait!   There are some unusual critters out there that you just might not see anywhere else. Gila Monsters, Diamond back and Western rattlesnake, javelina, tarantula, desert tortoise, banded gecko lizard, and the list goes on.

Different forms of diversity are also around, but well planted in the ground. Paloverde, mesquite, acacia, and ironwood are considered the "big four" of the dry desert trees. Cactus offer a wide array of species from the majestic saguaro and cousin barrel cactus, to the less obvious prickly pear and cholla (although cholla sometimes makes itself very visible, a.k.a. jumping cactus!).

Contrary to popular belief, the desert does experience the seasons of the year. If you time it right and the rains have been kind, spring can bring an incredible bloom to the desert. Fields of yellow poppies and the purple hue of lupine provides a surprising contrast.

Whether you are motivated to catch a glimpse of a seldom seen species or simply to smell the aroma of creosote bushes after a thunderstorm, the following information might be of assistance in planning your trek into the Sonoran desert. The tips provided apply to all desert regions.

If you have questions, call the City of Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve Office at 480-312-7013.