McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve turns 25!

Oct 1 at 3 p.m.
You're invited to celebrate with us at at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, 7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, as we honor the Preserve Pioneers.
Oct 18 at 9am Please join Mayor Lane and other dignitaries in the dedication of the Preserve’s two newest access facilities for the Preserve, the Fraesfield and Granite Mountain Trailheads. The ceremony will be held at the Fraesfield Trailhead located at 13400 East Rio Verde Drive, Scottsdale, AZ, 85262. Light refreshments will be served. 

Don't miss all of the other activities celebrating the Preserve taking place in October!

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a large, permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat that includes an interconnected network of non-motorized, multi-use trails (hike/bike/horse) accessed from multiple trailhead locations.

Electric Bikes are not allowed in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Electric bikes are motorized, and Chapter 21 of the Scottsdale Revised Code prohibits motorized vehicles from being used in the Preserve, with the exception of motorized wheelchairs, or vehicles in designated trailhead parking areas.

New Trailhead Improvements

Construction of the Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads is now complete. Amenities include restrooms, paved parking, equestrian staging areas, interpretive and orientation signs, and other support amenities. There is NO drinking water at either site, so please come prepared with your own water. The new trailheads are open 7 days a week. You can find the hours of operation here.

The City of Scottsdale is moving forward with design and construction of the Pima Dynamite Trailhead located on the northeast corner of Pima Road and Dynamite Boulevard. This trailhead will provide parking and support amenities for public recreational access to the extensive network of trails in the northern region of the Preserve for hiking, biking, trail running, and horseback riding. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and completed in 2020.

Trail Maps

View/Download

SOUTH AREA MAP   (PDF) - Watch Video
Gateway, Tom's Thumb, Lost Dog Wash, Sunrise, Ringtail Trailheads

NORTH/CENTRAL AREA MAP  (PDF) - Watch Video 
Brown's Ranch, Granite Mountain, Fraesfield, Tom's Thumb Trailheads

Pickup Hardcopy

You can pickup hard copies at any of the trailhead locations or at:

Community Services Office
7447 E. Indian School Rd. Suite 300
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Trailheads

Brown's Ranch Trailhead

Details
30301 N. Alma School Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85262
33° 45' 41.70"N, 111° 50' 32.06"W
Parking, restrooms, shade ramadas, interpretive signage, water, horse trailer parking, hitching rails, water trough, accessible Jane Rau Nature Trail
If you would like additional assistance, Pathfinders from the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy are available at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead on a daily basis from 8 a.m. - Noon. These hours are valid from November 2018 through March 2019.

Fraesfield Trailhead

Details
13400 East Rio Verde Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85262
33° 45' 41.70"N, 111° 50' 32.06"W
Car and horse trailer parking, restrooms, shade ramada, interpretive and orientation signs, no drinking water

Gateway Trailhead

Details
18333 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy. Scottsdale, AZ 85255
33° 38' 56.23"N, 111° 51' 32.96"W
Parking, restrooms, shade ramadas, water, accessible Bajada Nature Trail, horse-trailer parking, hitching rails, water trough, interpretive signage
If you would like additional assistance, Pathfinders from the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy are available at the Gateway Trailhead 8 a.m. - Noon on weekends, and 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. on weekdays. These hours are valid from November 2018 through March 2019.

Granite Mountain Trailhead

Details
31402 N. 136th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85262
33° 46' 12.52"N, 111° 47' 18.14"W
Car and horse trailer parking, restrooms, shade ramada, interpretive and orientation signs, no drinking water

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

Details
12601 N. 124th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85259
33° 35' 58.75"N, 111° 48' 46.77"W
Parking, restrooms, shade ramadas, water, horse-trailer parking, hitching rails, water trough, directional signage, accessible nature trail
If you would like additional assistance, Pathfinders from the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy are available at the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead 8 a.m. - Noon on weekends, and 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. These hours are valid from November 2018 through March 2019.

Quartz Trailhead

Details
SW corner of McDowell Mountain Ranch Rd. and 104th St.
33° 37' 37.62"N, 111° 51' 23.55"W
Parking, no drinking water

Ringtail Trailhead

Details
12300 block of N. 128th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85259
33° 35' 56.38"N, 111° 48' 17.21"W
Parking, no drinking water

Sunrise Trailhead

Details
12101 N. 145th Way Scottsdale, AZ 85259
33° 35' 45.72"N, 111° 46' 3.9"W
Parking, water, directional signage, limited horse-trailer parking, hitching rails, water trough, shade ramada (overflow lot)

Tom's Thumb Trailhead

Details
23015 N. 128th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85255
33° 41' 21.29"N, 111° 48' 5.305"W
Car and horse trailer parking, restrooms, shade ramada, interpretive signs,  no drinking water
If you would like additional assistance, Pathfinders from the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy are available at the Tom's Thumb Trailhead 8 a.m. - Noon on weekends, and 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. on weekdays. These hours are valid from November 2018 through March 2019.

WestWorld

Details
15939 N. 98th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85260
33° 37' 50.1"N, 111° 52' 11.57"W
Horse-trailer parking, water trough, shade ramada, restrooms, public arenas, directional signage. Access the Preserve via the WestWorld trail to the Quartz or Taliesin Trails.

Videos

Introduction Gateway Tom's Thumb Brown's Ranch
Preserve Introduction Gateway Trailhead Tom's Thumb Trailhead Brown's Ranch Trailhead
Southern Mountain Region Gateway Loop Trail Marcus Landslide Jane Rau Trail
Bajada Nature Trail
Saguaro Loop Trail

Hours

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 regulations links to external site including no alcohol, smoking or fires.

Dogs

Rules

Dogs in the Preserve are a privilege. If you bring your dog it is your responsibility to follow the rules:

  • If it is over 90 degrees at any time in your hike, it's too hot for your dog.
  • Dogs must be on hand held leash, no longer than 6 feet at all times.
  • Waste must be pick up immediately and 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.

Heat Warning for Dog Owners

Dogs do not actually sweat. They exchange heat through panting and to a minor degree, through their feet pads. Additionally, our canine friends do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do.

Risk groups

The risk groups are much the same as humans: Old, obese, suffer from medical conditions or take medicine. Certain breeds are more susceptible to heat emergencies than other breeds. These breeds with a broad, short skull: Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, etc.

Causes of heat emergency in dogs:

  • Strenuous exercise in hot, humid weather
  • Elevated temperatures from atmospheric temps and hot surface contact
  • Sidewalk/natural rock surface can radiate very high temps 
  • 90 degree atmospheric temp/ potential surface temp of 135 degrees

Warning Signs

  • Begins with heavy panting/signs of difficulty breathing
  • Tongue/gums appears bright red with thick saliva
  • Skin elasticity (when pinched, does not snap back)
  • Worsens if dog vomits, becomes unsteady, lethargic, unwilling to move (Core temp in the 104 degree range)
  • Heat Stroke:
    • lips/membranes become blue/gray
    • Rapid on-set collapse, seizure, unconsciousness and death

What to do

  • Immediate cooling of body with water, cool packs to groin, where legs meet the body, neck
  • Remove from heat immediately
  • Get to Veterinarian (Consequences of heat emergency = kidney failure, heart irregularities, other system failures, death)

Prevention

  • Know your dog’s limitations/abilities
  • Assess the environmental conditions
  • Carry plenty of water for both you and your dog
  • Cool vests and trail booties for dogs are available and are very efficient

Permits

Special Use

A Special Use Permit is required for special activities and organized events including professional photography and filming, special events, weddings and other ceremonies, and community club activities such as group hikes and rides. Please fill out a special use permit request form to begin the process. It typically takes 7 to 10 business days for a permit to be issued. Call 480-312-7013 for more information or read the Preserve's Special Use Guidelines. (PDF)

Guiding

Guiding is allowed in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with a permit. Permits are granted through an application process held once a year.

Upon approval of an application, a permit fee of $150 must be paid, plus pre-paid use days equal to $3.50 per client and a $10 Administrative Fee. Permits will be valid for one year, from Aug. 1 to July 31. Please read the Preserve's Guidelines for Guiding Permits (PDF) for more information.

For more information or questions please contact Yvonne Massman at ymassman@ScottsdaleAZ.gov. You may also call 480-312-7013. Thank you!

Guided Hikes

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

Need Help?

480-312-3111

General City Information/Speak to a Citizen Service Specialist


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